Saturday, April 16, 2011

Flying Through Phoenix

It isn't that I fly to LA all that often or anything, but every time I do, I find myself in Phoenix. And every time, the same thing happens. It goes like this:

We are making good time. Not only are we on time, we are a few minutes early. So far so good. But as soon as we land, we come to a stop, and the captain announces that our gate is occupied and we will just cool our w/heels out here on the fringes for a "few minutes" until our gate is free.

We settle down to wait, and from then on, every five minutes we hear, "It should just be another few minutes." This goes on enough times that my one-plus-hour layover ends up shortened by 25%. The flight attendant optimistically informs me that a run is probably not required, but a hustle will definitely be helpful, and don't worry, there are golf carts and moving sidewalks. So, I don't worry, but I tie on my running shoes and prepare to sprint.

Even 45 minutes is do-able for a grandma in fairly decent shape, but the minute I step into the terminal, I see that a run may not be a bad idea, because I have de-barked at this end of the "B" gates, and my connecting flight is alllllllllll the way at that end of the "A" gates.

The race is on! And God bless the man who invented wheels on suitcases. I just wish that was the kind of suitcase I had right now.

Sky Harbor is well-marked, and it takes just a quick glance to locate the "A Gates" arrow. I scurry over to the sign and behold a corridor stretching to eternity. I can't even see the other end. Fortunately there is a moving sidewalk. It would be even more fortunate if it worked. But that would be a lot to expect at this point, wouldn't it, so I gird up my loins and start the first mile.

Lo and behold! The second leg of the moving sidewalk is moving, and I hop on! "Stand on the right/Walk on the left," the sign says, and that's cool, except that the sign doesn't say how fast to walk, and it only takes one minute for me to catch up to the next walker who is taking his Sunday stroll. There is no way to pass, so I fall in and slow my step to match his, which leaves me frantically cooling my heels and see myself being overtaken, and passed, by the horde that spurned the hi-tech sidewalk in favor of only their own foot power.

The moving sidewalk finally reaches the end of the terminal. I think. But when I get off...PSYYYYCH! It's only the corner in a 90-degree turn, and off to the right stretches another endless hallway. "A" gates all, but mine is nowhere in sight.

I spit on my hands, hoist my non-wheeled case over my shoulder, and gird up my loins, rejecting the moving sidewalk to take off on my own. Sure enough, I easily pass the suckers walkers on the moving sidewalk. Coming to one last moving sidewalk, which I also bypass, I can see my gate coming up in the nebulous distance. YAY! There is light at the end of the tunnel!

I really don't know what I'm worried about. This event is scripted and finely tuned, and I have participated enough times to know how it comes out: I will make it to the gate in plenty to time to make my flight.

What I should be worried about is what comes next: KALIFORNIA.

1 comment:

sterling river said...

Grandma, you can do anything