Three guesses how my trip home went….
Well, after my last adventure in travel, I was really hoping for an uneventful trip home. Not so uneventful that I didn’t actually get home, but uneventful enough that I wouldn’t have anything to write except “I made it home safely today….” Oh well. What doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger, or crazier.
I had absolutely no trouble making it to Logan Thursday morning. The two trains were on time, the shuttle was there waiting for me when I got the Airport Blue line T stop, so I didn’t have to wait at all. In fact, I’d done so little waiting that I got to the terminal quite a bit earlier than I’d intended. But it’s always better to wait in the terminal rather than at home, I always say. You never know when a train will be stuck on the track ahead of you, or the gate you’re looking for will be moved to the other end of the airport.
Apparently, a lot of people had missed the 6:00 version of my flight to Midway and then Minneapolis, so there were quite a few people on standby, including a little boy of about 11. He and I talked just briefly while standing at the door of the plane. Just the “where are you going… oh, me too” type of conversation you have when you’re in close quarters on a plane. Remember this. It’ll come back to haunt me later.
On the flight, I sat next to a VERY pregnant woman and her two and a half year old daughter, Ela. Ela was facing the prospect of traveling without the benefit of her car seat because it was missing an updated flight approval sticker from its manufacturer. So in the airline’s twisted mind, it was safer for her to sit with a lap belt padded with a folded up blanket than to fly in a perfectly good car seat that was missing a sticker… How does this make sense?!?
Anyway, Ela’s mother and all the women sitting around her were happily engaged in entertaining the little girl when the mom started breathing hard, clutching her stomach, grimacing, and periodially glancing at her watch. Woah! Nobody signed me up for this!!! This only happens in movies, doesn’t it?
Memories of everything I’ve ever learned about delivering babies flashed through my head as I checked my watch and found that we still had an hour to go before landing. Most babies aren’t born in an hour… but then most babies aren’t born in an airplane either, so I wasn’t very comforted. Luckily the contractions subsided after only a little while, and I thanked my lucky stars that there is such a thing as false labor.
Oh, and flight attendants that think that barking at crying 2-year-olds to make them sit down and buckle up “or we won’t be able to land” should be fired.
Well, we landed (Ela was nicely buckled and happily listening to the iPod the woman in front of her offered as a reward for staying that way), only we were half an hour late and many of us had a flight to catch. But waiting for me at the top of the gangway was the little kid who flew standby. He came up and asked timidly if I could show him the next gate and help him find his luggage. I remembered he’d had a rather large carry-on which must have been gate-checked, and I didn’t know how gate-checking went for connecting flights, so I took him up to the gate attendants and explained that he was flying alone and needed assistance.
This should have been enough. In fact, I was surprised they hadn’t had someone there waiting to chaperone him through the airport. But not so on Air Tran, apparently, because the next thing I know, I’m seeing this poor kid walking with another passenger toward our new gate! The gate attendants had asked a random passenger to take him to his new gate, and they hadn’t told him anything about his luggage!!!
So by this time, the other passenger and I kicked into full mommy-mode, marched up to the new gate, and started demanding that they check for his luggage (which had been mis-tagged and would have been stuck in Midway if we’d gotten to the gate 5 minutes later). Then we shoved granola bars into the kid’s hands to make up for the lunch none of us would be having now that our flights were so close together. As we boarded, I made little Jimmy promise me that he’d let me know he’d found his mom at the other end of this flight so I would know he was ok.
Sitting down in my new seat, I was ready to turn my brain off. But just as we got up into the air, and the cabin air started to recirculate, I started smelling pee. Yep… pee. Then I shifted my weight in my chair… and got damp!!!!!!!! SOMEBODY HAD PEED IN MY SEAT!!!!!!!!
As calmly as I could, I rang for the flight attendant.
When he arrived I started: “Could you get me a blanket or something to sit on because…”
“No, we don’t have blankets on the flight.” (No blankets, no pillows, no milk for kids, no chaperones for minors traveling alone, no food… what DO they have?)
“Because,” I continued, “I smelled urine, I shifted my weight and got wet, and I think somebody has peed on my seat. I’m really kinda grossed out right now.”
The guy’s face changed to one of complete surprise and horror, and you could just see him processing his options: full flight, no blankets… But something’s gotta change. Then he remembered that they had spare seat cushions in the back, and mine would come up (seeing as it’s a flotation device), so I could get a whole new seat. Meanwhile, all I could think of was getting home, taking a bath, and doing my laundry. SO GROSS!!!!!
But before the laundry/bath combo, I still had to make sure little Jimmy’s mom was there to meet him, especially since he didn’t know if she knew when his new flight was arriving. And sure enough, she wasn’t. So we wandered the terminal for a while, walking toward security while I thought what to do. He didn’t know her phone number, so I couldn’t call her, and the gate agents would probably be less that useless. So I figured having her paged, then picking up his luggage, and then playing it by ear from there would be a good plan. Luckily, just as we got to the security check point, he spotted her coming through to meet him. Whew! This would leave me open to hightail it home and GET CLEAN.
Upon arriving home, I drew a bath (my first since moving here), and was just getting comfy when there was a pounding on my door. Apparently my pipes had sprung a leak and I was pouring water into my downstairs-neighbor’s bathroom. So much for a relaxing soak! When I called the office they said that this was a “known issue” and the maintenance guys would fix it the next morning.
I never want to travel again.