In the last two and one-half weeks, I’ve gone to three different airports, four times. None of them have been for any adventures penciled into my calendar. I’ve simply gotten to play chauffeur to the accumulation of sky miles for others.
Both happen to be my children.
Neither happens to be aware of a little thing the rest of us cling to—like a clock.
And although I may occasionally skate into appointments with barely five ticks before classified as officially late, commercial aviation does not provide a slushy window of time for takeoff, and therefore I don’t muck about with where they draw the line. In fact, it is rocking horse manure rare to find an airliner that will keep their engines running on idle for that one desperate passenger who is racing to the gate and will arrive in 8.2 more seconds.
That’s right. I think we’re all fairly well acquainted with the gate agents that see you barreling toward them, child tucked under one arm, briefcase slung around your neck, one hand thrust out in front of you with boarding pass in full view and your mouth wide open, stretching out the word WAIT and who then quickly shut the mobile hallway just as you skid to a stop in front of them.
They didn’t hear you screaming wait?
Of course, they didn’t.
You were traveling faster than the speed of sound during that last thirty-yard dash.
Who could blame them?
Therefore, I make sure to leave plenty of time to arrive at an airport so I’ve got extra minutes enough to get to the gate and go to the bathroom. Or back through security and out to the car because I’ve forgotten my phone adapter. Or the 1 ½ hour trip back home because I may or may not have remembered to turn off the sprinkler.
I like to be prepared.
These last few trips to the airport had me rethinking my previous bubble of cushioned clock ticks against the departure hour. On each occasion, we pulled into the airport parking lot and dashed. After thanking any and all deities for allowing my kids to get through the snaking security lines, to their gates and into their assigned seats, I realized I needed to back up our EDT.
The problem was me—not them. They were behaving as teenagers behave. I, on the other hand, was behaving as if I was just me and not transporting teenagers.
Teenagers need extra time to do things like:
– drop off their car at a different airport because they are not flying in and out of the same one, or
– stop at the drugstore on the way because they made a last minute request for much needed refills on prescriptions, or
– squeeze in a quick shower, a meal and a minor outpatient surgery.
It could be any of these things.
Or all of them.
Since I was the driver, I was the one wearing the mantle of responsibility.
And that is a hefty cloak that refuses to render you invisible when plans go pear-shaped—like in my latest adventure with my son.
“I’ll meet you after school and we’ll go straight to the airport from there.”
No, Mom. I have to drop my car off at the regional airport in town because that’s where my return flight lands.
“Huh. Okay. Well, that adds a few minutes to the trip, but we’ll still be fine. I’ll meet you in the parking lot.”
(On route, I come across a traffic snarl, backtrack and then phone my son.)
“Hey bud, there appears to be an accident at the intersection of Polo and Branchwater, so don’t take the main thoroughfare. Use the back route.”
Yeah, sure. Where are you?
“I just told you, and now I’m reversing my route because of the accident and will be about three minutes late meeting you. See you in the parking lot.”
(I arrive in the lot and surprise, surprise—no son. So I phone.)
“Where are you, kiddo?”
I’m in a long line of standing traffic, Mom! It looks like there’s been some accident up ahead.
“Where. Are. You.”
Not far from Polo and Branchwater.
“Did you not hear me say there was an accident there just five minutes ago?”
There was an accident? Why didn’t you tell me?
These precious gems are all tucked away into the of ‘Let’s Laugh About Them Later’ album, but throw two or three of these in succession into the ‘Best Laid Plans of Moms and Managers,’ and you’ve got yourself the makings of minor apoplectic fit.
As I prefer my heartbeat to be one that mostly goes unnoticed, and I’m steadfast in my refusal to support the pharmaceutical industry any further with additional prescriptions meant to alleviate the harrowing conditions brought on by guiding one’s offspring through the last couple of treacherous years up to adulthood, I am girding my loins for the next teen interaction and request for transport before take-off. It will go something like this:
Hey, Mom? Will you drop me off at the airport next week? I’ve got an interview for my summer internship.
“You betcha. Let me just grab my purse and keys. I’ll meet you in the car.”
Mom, the flight doesn’t leave for three days.
“You’re right. We may be cutting it close.”
Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.