Travel and I don’t always get along. In fact, if you want to have a travel adventure you should just fly with me. Usually it isn’t my fault, but then sometimes it is.
- This time, I take full responsibility.
Half of July and some of August was filled with attending a leadership conference, visiting family, and recharging my batteries – a much needed refill and relax after one of the most intense, crazy, and hard seasons of my life. Looking back at July 2013 and knowing what I know now, I would have opted to call in sick for the last year if at all possible.
Starting out and nearly finishing well.
I made it to San Francisco, Redding, Seattle, Puyallup, Gearhart, and back to Puyallup without any difficulty. Ok, there was the small fiasco during my mom and my’s trip to the Seattle Premium Outlets when I had to go to the bathroom and we were in gridlock on the I-5. By the time we made it to the Walgreens somewhere in Seattle and found the bathroom, I was in a near state of panic.
I was starting to feel claustrophobic and nearly ran down the street to knock on someone’s door and start with “I am from Canada and in Seattle for the day. I like to stay hydrated and this proves to create a problem on the I5 …”
Let’s just say the woman who unlocked the bathroom door for us in Walgreens when my mom declared “My daughter is going to pee her pants! This is an emergency!” was surprised when the girl responding to my mom yelling, “Donloree! Donloree! I found the bathroom!” was 34, not 4 years old.
Needless to say, I don’t fall far from the tree of ridiculousness.
The way home.
I was excited about my direct flight home from Seattle. I love direct flights – an amazing blessing for a woman who crammed all her belongings for two and a half weeks into a carry on and a laptop bag.
Hauling over 50 pounds of ‘carry on’ through multiple airports is quite the workout. Let’s just say I earn my latte on travel days!
There I was, early as heck for my 2:00 pm flight and everything crammed precariously into my bags. In order to zip my roller bag, I literally had to kneel on it and zip it up around myself and then pray the zipper would hold – there was no way I was opening that up for a book to read.
I found myself at one of those multiple gates at one gate location. Eight flights of people were milling about, waiting for their plane to arrive. I procured a piece of floor by a plugin so I could start to whittle away at the 350 emails I had received in the past few weeks.
- As always, the invasive announcement happened without warning.
For those of you on Alaska going direct to Edmonton, we have an overly full plane. We are unable to leave the tarmac unless someone volunteers to take a later flight. Please come see me at the desk if you are interested in helping out.
The following announcements got more desperate and needy as time went on. Those of us going to Edmonton started to drift towards the desk, everyone with a good excuse for why they wouldn’t help with moving the plane from the tarmac to the sky. The group of boy scouts who needed to travel together huddled together nervously, the leader looking at us pleadingly to help.
Traveling alone and with no one waiting for me at the airport since my husband was in Ecuador, I took the plunge. Becoming a hero to a frazzled airport desk clerk and a group of middle school aged boys was my award. Grabbing my voucher, latte, 350 emails, and 50 pounds of carry on I ran for my new gate across the airport. My flight was leaving in 20 minutes and the domino effect of many ridiculous airport encounters was looming.
I hate Vancouver’s policy on international flights.
After going through customs you have to go out of security with all your luggage, check into your next flight, check luggage, go through security, and try to make it on time for your connecting flight. I have done this a few times in Vancouver and every time has been a high intensity workout. I also end up chugging my whole water bottle while in the security line up because I don’t have time to find a place to dump the water out and still make my connection.
- This particular day I was annoyed about security.
Just four hours ago I had done this exact thing with tears streaming down my face.
Now the only thing on my face was a frown. After, yet again, taking off most of my clothes, finding my iPhone, laptop, and bag of liquids, and putting 5 trays of stuff through the X-ray machine I found myself under deep scrutiny.
Security Agent – What is the mass in your bag? (Holding my roller bag)
Donloree – Mass? What mass? I have no idea. Hmmm … (I thought honesty was the best policy, but if you don’t know what is in your bag suspicion rises quickly.)
Security Agent – You don’t know what is in your bag? Did you pack it?
Donloree – Yes, I packed it.
Security Agent – We are going to have to open it up and see. Come over here with me.
Donloree – Ok, but be careful. It may explode when you do.
No sooner than when the words left my mouth did I realize they weren’t the right words to choose. I merely meant a lot of clothes, underwear, and bras were about to spill out of the bag – not an actual explosion.
A semi-circle of security agents magically appeared.
Donloree – Not explode, explode. Just clothes explode. I had to kneel on it to get it shut. You know what I mean, right?
Supervisor Security Agent – Ma’am, please step over here.
Donloree – I am sorry, wrong words. I am tired. There is nothing in my bag. Well there is a lot of stuff in my bag, but nothing like what you think is in my bag!
Supervisor Security Agent – Please put out your palms and then lift your shirt, we are going to swab you. This is nothing to joke about.
Donloree – I am not joking. I am just tired. BEACH ROCKS! That’s right! I have rocks in there. Is that what you saw? (Looking over, Security Agent #1 was thoroughly looking over every single rock I found on the beach.) Yup, those are them. I went to the beach to visit my brother and his family – hence the rocks.
Supervisor Security Agent – Please stay calm, we are not finished.
Watching a strange man hold up your bra to ensure it is not a bomb is an interesting experience, to say the least. Once security was assured my rocks were rocks and I didn’t have ingredients from mixing up a bomb on my hands or waist, I was free to go.
Kneeling on my roller bag once again, this time in front of six security agents, I zipped it up and was off to the gate. Well, kind of. It is possible I tripped over my roller bag and dropped my water bottle first.
- Quiet calm is not a skill I possess.
Whenever there is some sort of crisis, I immediately move to action to solve it. Oftentimes this creates more crisis and then I take more action – a tornado of ridiculousness starts to form before anyone knows what happened. *sigh*