M and I left the house today at 4:20. AM. to catch the first flight of his trip, leaving at 7. He didn't actually have to be back at West Point until tomorrow, but as much as we would have enjoyed one more day with him, it was going to cost $500 to change his ticket, and as it develops, even outside of the $ factor, there are some definite advantages to giving yourself some margin. It definitely cuts down on the stress when
- you just commented on the great traveling conditions: good weather, good road, bare minimum of traffic, and suddenly you have to slam on the brakes when you come upon a sea of red lights on the road in front of you, and a whole herd of 18-wheelers and assorted other vehicles bring you to a complete standstill, with the only movement on the scene coming from one emergency vehicle after another screeching its way to somewhere down the road ahead of you, and you end up creating your own ramp to escape the interstate. Adventure driving at its finest. Just as you pull up to the feeder road, two more ambulances whiz by barely giving you time to stop, and then as you cruise down the access road toward the stoplight, you get a look at the cause of all the commotion: a dead 18-wheeler flat on its back, bellowing smoke into the night, sprawled across all southbound lanes of the interstate, attended by a host of ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks. And then just for good measure, the stop light holds you up for a good half hour. Ok, maybe not that long, but at least long enough to convince you to "run" the light. Or when
- you make it the airport with still enough time to make your flight (unlike the hapless wannabe passengers at the kiosk next to you who are firmly informed by the friendly computer that "It is too late to check in for your flight."), but then you run into an ignorant, overly-zealous security guard whose disdain for the military is blatantly obvious, causing him to direct you into a safe little glass cubicle where he abandons you until he gets good and ready to make an example of you to the airport at large, waving his little magic wand up and down your body, and then patting you vigorously up the front and down the back, making sure you stay put by holding your shoes hostage, and letting you go with barely enough time to make the "last call" for your flight, thus ensuring that you will not have time to file a complaint against him. And then
- you make it back to West Point a day ahead of your roommates, allowing you to choose your bed and your desk, register your phone, set up your computer, grab a laundry cart (uncontested) so you can move all of your stuff in one trip, no hurries, no worries; and the next day when the rest of the corps, suffering delayed flights and missed connections and other travel perils comes dragging in, you have a nice, leisurely day on your agenda, while theirs is overloaded with anxiety and stress, and they still have to move in and unpack.