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A simple Trip to Fla Part 1

Posted 04-27-2014 at 03:28 PM by Nostroke
Updated 10-28-2014 at 07:45 AM by Nostroke

A Simple Trip to Florida
The day seemed to start so well, especially considering what time it had begun. I am up at 6 AM for my 8:15 flight to Florida from The Westchester County Airport (HPN)-conveniently located less than 6 miles away. By 6:20 I'm feeling great, having for the first time in several years met the sandman by 10 PM the previous evening. It wasn't until 10 hours later that I realized 2 SNAFU's had already occurred.

MY alarm had never gone off! My clock is one of those extra high tech error free gizmos that updates itself minute by minute via atomic particles circling one of the moons of Venus if I recall correctly. The fact that it was reading 8 minutes behind my cable box was of no concern. There were probably just Sun Storms that day- I'd make the simple adjustment. This gadget has at least 15-20 buttons of some type which makes for somewhere north of 60 million combinations but i swear i had it right. Anyway who cares, i woke up on my own.

The second screwup was the back-up wake up call coming from www.wakerupper.com. The only thing with this was my phone has 'Smart Actions' which were set (by me) so that my phone would not ring between the hours of 11PM-7AM. Well the 'Smart Actions' worked fine and yes i know that i just passed over a weak joke. Upon reflection, It may have been key in me making it through this sanity testing day that i wasn't already aggravated by having slept through the alarms that weren't there. I arrived at the airport fat, dumb and happy 40 mins before take-off, plenty of time for this tiny place. From the entrance door to the gate I'm guessing is well under 100 feet as the crow flies and maybe 130 feet as the drunk stumbles.

The first thing i did of course was to check the Security line. There were a few people going through the process but no one waiting at all. After buying a newspaper and a banana cake I make my way to the line where there are no more than 6-7 people ahead of me. Naturally the line comes to a dead stop now that I'm there. I'm trying to be patient but after 4-5 minutes or so-I'm craning my neck to see what is going on. I know there must be an imbecile involved and I plan on doing some serious muttering when i find him!

There are 2 people, foreign looking, standing in front of the podium looking lost and the Security Lady is staring into space. WTF is going on??!! Either you have your ID and boarding pass or you don't!

By now they are announcing my flight is pre boarding. Still no sweat-plenty of time.

After what felt like substantially less than an eternity, the line begins moving.

I finally reach the front and at that very moment to the millisecond, my right hand brushes something heavy and in an instant I realize i have my favorite $95 pocket knife clipped to these pants. I show it to the security guy who has now joined his female counterpart. I no longer care about muttering at imbeciles, i have my very own problems-and i am the biggest imbecile in sight anyway. Had I not discovered the knife at that last possible second however, just missed it for 3 more seconds, I imagine the problems would have been far bigger/sooner.

"Sir we can take that from you or you can go bring it back to your car".

As I am trying to sort this out quickly, ignoring his car advice and come up with a viable solution, I hear "Jet Blue flight 817, all seats all rows". Evidently it's a small plane.

"I took a cab-I dont have a car" "Well sir you can put it in that bag and check it through to West Palm back at the ticket counter"

I was so hoping to hear-"The Newspaper lady sells padded envelopes and $1.00 stamps-Just run over there and mail it back to yourself". But nooooooo-makes way too much sense for someone to provide a needed service and make a few bucks from grateful people!

So now I am in a COMPLETE PANIC. Panicking is one of my stronger smoots. I'm under the gun, feeling the heat, and sweating bullets. My mouth is drier than the dessert sand at high noon and I'm shaking but i have to get this bag checked! and quickly! Previously at the urging of the PA system, I had already put my keys, wallet, 2 wads of money, and everything else from my pockets into my 1/16th inch thin canvas bag with a broken zipper. These things cannot go into that cargo hold- No F'n way!!

There is no place in the area to repack this bag conveniently. Forget about a a speck of dignity. I'm sitting on the floor, dumping everything out so i can retrieve my keys, $$ wads, ID, camera etc and get them back on my person. The chances of this bag making it through the detoured trip intact are near nil. As i finish up, I spot the Taxi booth and a friendly face.

There's a guy working there who knows me for decades. I rush up with the knife and $10 bill in hand. He refuses the $10 and advises that if he isn't there when i return, the knife will be in "that drawer", clearly a junk drawer full of things no one would have any respect for. I'm somewhat relieved but keep in mind i have some sort of OCD that wants me to keep all "good things" new. This knife which I have had for at least 2 years has never cut one blessed thing. Not paper, not packing tape-nothing-A virgin. Still i saw this as the best option at the moment.

Time to worry about something else and now I'm rushing back to the security line shoving everything i had in my pockets recklessly back in the bag for an effortless quick cruise through the process.

I make it to the belt without incident, thinking of my knife- soon likely to be abused or to disappear all together! I place my stuff there, get it moving and now I'm being motioned into the strip search machine. I step in- the thing does a 360 around me, measures and critiques my stuff, sends out mass Email gifs and in 3 seconds it's over. Im directed to two yellow foot prints where i am told to stand. A burly guy steps over invading my space and says :

"Sir there seems to be some sort of patch about 4x4 inches in the center of your back. Would you happen to know what that would be sir?"

"No but i do know there is no patch there of any sorta sort".

"Sir I'm going to have to touch that area of your back, is that all right with you?"

"Just keep your hands off my ass"

"No problem sir, Im going to touch your back now-Is that OK sir?"

"Yes"

At this point I notice that my bag has not made its way out of the X Ray tunnel.

The burly guy starts his examination of me, taking his hand and only using the tips of his fingers to barely touch me solely in that 4x4 area!!!

This guy is acting like I'm Mariah Carey and he is desperately trying to avoid an embarrassing and costly national incident/lawsuit. WTH?

"Ok sir you're done".

But I'm not. My bag is in the middle of the tunnel and 2 guys are still looking at the monitor pointing and talking about my bag.....

Time is running out and I'm tired of these guys whispering about my bag. I yell out

"It's a flashlight!!" "Oh a flashlight?!-It's a big one!" "Yes it's a big one!"

So now what does he do? He runs it through until it is out of the tunnel, grabs it, walks it back and puts it at the start of the belt for ANOTHER trip through X Ray!

Now from the extremely hard to believe department, It gets to the mid point of the X Ray tunnel again, to the identical location and he STOPS IT AGAIN!! SAME GUY! OMGWTF?! This flashlight has got him baffled for the second time! JUST take it out and look at it you dumb %#$@! Not hearing a thing about my flight anymore either. Has it left?

After pondering for waaaaaay too long, Mr Genius runs it through to the end again, picks it up and hands my bag to a good size female bruiser who takes it behind something and out of my view! Thanks a bunch.Just what is needed now-settle my nerves.

Reminder- All my important stuff including but not limited to: 2 wads of cash, credit cards, meds and keys to both my places are in this small bag and it's totally out of my sight in the hands of a stranger.

I can see The Bruiser's upper arms and torso but not my bag!. It appears as though she has a perp on the table and is pummeling him with lefts and rights-left right!-Arms going up and down, in and out. What is she doing and why the f* ck is she not doing it in front of me? From time to time she glances at me. Waiting for an opening? I don't know but i know I am worried. A minute or two more of this torture and my bag apparently finally passes the critical pummel test. It is handed back to me.

Now i have to know if everything is still in there? But do i have time?

"This is the final boarding call for Jet Blue flight 617-All passengers....................etc"

I do a three second search of the bag and confirm that at least my keys and ONE wad of cash are still in there-the small wad.. Gotta move on...

By now I'm totally dehydrated. All the moisture in my body has flowed out my armpits and evaporated because of the heat I'm giving off. I'm hot and dry mouthed -like an empty frying pan left on the burner for the better part of a day. WATER WATER! I know the final final boarding call is over but I just cant go on without water.

Now having had PLENTY of experience with this $3 water machine, before i left home, i pre selected three perfect brand new crisp one dollar bills for specific use in this machine. They are in my shaking hand

Im standing there feeding them into the slot 400 MPH and they are coming out at 500 MPH, hitting the deck, floating in the air etc. I'm flailing at them looking like a wild man who had just stepped on a bee hive. All along trying to figure out the Instructional Diagram showing exactly how they go in. It goes without saying I'm panicking like I'm in front of The Grand Jury again! (Ok that's the first exaggeration-I've never been in front of a Grand Jury) Being so out of sorts, i don't remember what the cure was for this regurgitating dollar slot but sometime well after i should have received the water (if only i had remained calm), I got it and I'm tripping towards the Gate- no other passengers in sight.

The gate is still manned and I slip in. Now to find the gate within the gate but the velvet rope leads me me to one proclaiming 'Ft Lauderdale'. Long story short-Yes it did read that and yes it was on 'My Jetway'. The plane was going to West Palm Beach-my destination and not Ft Lauderdale. I don't think i can really call this a break but at least it was resolved pretty quickly and with only a minimal amount of panicking,

I reach the plane door- only one lady in front of me who asks the Stewardess for a water. "I'm sorry we don't actually have them yet. They are in the back-Later blah blah blah". I pat my back for the one good decision i had made a few minutes earlier.

As i make my way to my seat, the sounds of a Tuberculosis slash Allergy Clinic surround me.....

(continued)
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