Stop: over!
Thursday November 13th 2008, 7:40 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Greta and I are old college friends who hadn’t seen each other in 17 years, and we arranged to meet at JFK Airport during a layover.  I left my husband guarding all our carry-on stuff–and my Kaffe Fassett coat, to top it off, more than any one person should have to carry–while I went out of the security zone to have a chance to catch up with my old friend. I carefully kept my ID and boarding pass with me, taking only my purse. I promised him I’d be checking back through in time to spend the last full hour with him so he could go buy lunch, take a restroom break if he needed it, etc etc.

All well and good, till… I got a not-quite-frantic-yet IM message from Richard: they’d just changed our departure time to 45 minutes earlier, ie boarding quite shortly, and they’d changed our gate to one further away.  He’d had to move everything, and I needed to hurry NOW.  Oh goodness!  How can they do that!  Gotta run!  Greta waved goodbye as I tried to go back through security.

The boarding pass had been in two pieces barely connected.  Somehow between stuffing it in my purse and then stuffing it in my pocket for handy grabbing, I’d lost the top half.  No good.  Can’t let you through, so sorry, lady, no the flight won’t wait even if your luggage is on it, sorry.  I got sent way over to the luggage check-in to get a new boarding pass (they let me go to the front of the line–thank you JetBlue.)  Then back to security.  Everything was far enough away that I was running.  Which gets too dramatic, with me suddenly in acute need of air and my heart not happy about it.  They grabbed me a wheelchair.

The wheelchair lady was in absolutely no hurry.  She’d seen the original boarding time and couldn’t understand my hurry, and nothing I could do could talk her out of it.  I tried to take a deep breath.  In the end, I got there with just a couple of minutes to spare, but it was just too close.

And then the flight was so turbulent there were no snacks nor bathroom breaks allowed.

Richard forgave me, but it was a near thing for a few minutes there.

But I did get my Greta time.  Yay!  Was it worth it?  You absolutely betcha.

Note which spouse is typing this.

12 Comments so far
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My goodness — that’s a story! I do, indeed, notice which spouse is writing this; but I bet it was good to get to see Greta, even if it was curtailed too quickly 🙂

Comment by Jocelyn 11.13.08 @ 8:09 pm


“Welcome to New York!” *rolls eyes*

And I thought the drama of being in the airport almost an hour before we figured out how to get you through the security barrier was bad enough! But we should have known the speed of the wheelchair brigade based on our efforts to get one moving before. Too bad they are just as fast when they do show up as when they don’t.

Kiss Richard for me for his sacrifice to let me spend the time with you.

And my kids were complaining because I had left home at 10:15 am and got home at 5 pm just to see you for that all too brief time. I hope they can grow up and find friends as good as you. Then they’ll understand. Alison time is worth every second.

Hope you have had a nice, peaceful rest at your destination and have a wonderful time at the book signing today!

Comment by Greta 11.14.08 @ 3:37 am

Oh my gosh! Hope your time in Vermont will allow you to relax! See you this afternoon at Kaleidescope! :>)

Comment by Joansie 11.14.08 @ 6:01 am

Uh oh, wish I’d waited a month or two to read this..
I’m flyin’ to the Lone Star State next week…not nervous about it at all, oh no, not at all. 😉

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 11.14.08 @ 6:35 am

Flying is stressful enough without adding “hey lets leave earlier” normally that would have been a good thing. But certainly not this time. Hope you get to relax soon.

Comment by sonya 11.14.08 @ 6:46 am

Alison, I saw from your last post that you won’t get my email until Monday. But I did email, and won’t be there this afternoon after all :(. My thoughts are with you the whole time, and I’ll be anxious to read all about it.

Comment by Joyce in NH 11.14.08 @ 7:10 am

I’m laughing, because my airport experiences are filled with similar stories. If I’m not running from one end of the airport to another, then it just doesn’t feel like flying.

Comment by Channon 11.14.08 @ 8:14 am

I debated last night adding about the woman who decided to ignore the seatbelts-on sign so she could go barf in the bathroom from the bumpy flight, while the flight stewards were exclaiming, No, no, lady, you can’t! Put on your seatbelt! They sat her next to Richard and handed her a garbage bag to barf into. In the end, I think she managed to hold it in, but her face was down in there for awhile and as a Crohn’s patient it was all I could do not to be overwhelmed by sheer power of suggestion–do NOT look at that woman! Oh goodness.

I think they left early to try to beat the worst of the storm, and probably everybody who was supposed to be on the flight was, I’m guessing, officially checked in already. (Oops.)

But we’re here and Vermont is lovely. I imagine the huge pine bows coming over the fence remind my daughter of the redwoods she grew up with. It’s so good to see my daughter and son-in-law. The more shy of the two grandcats, on finding I’m still here this morning, decided I was okay after all and let me pet her.

Joyce, I’m so sorry I don’t get to see you today. Good thing Jennie’s here in Vermont for the long haul. Toni, I’ve never before encountered a flight leaving early nor a barficitous plane-mate. In the end, we sat on the plane, a couple of stragglers arrived, and we didn’t actually leave till only 15 minutes early.

And the woman smiled and waved triumphantly as she got off the plane. Made me laugh. She did it!

Comment by AlisonH 11.14.08 @ 8:24 am

Ouch. Glad you made it! Last time I was at JFK, I got to stay for 28 hours. Hope you’re having fun in VT!

Comment by Amy 11.14.08 @ 11:38 am

How scarry thinking you will miss your flight and how stressful.((((Alison)))))Darcy

Comment by Darcy 11.14.08 @ 12:16 pm

Your story reminds me of my recent trip to North Carolina. I really enjoyed most of my time in the Wilmington airport. I loved the rocking chairs.

I could understand when they said there was a mechanical problem with the plane, we’d have to disembark. I could understand making reservations on a new flight. But walking back through the airport to get newly issued tickets and going through security again felt like an outrage.

And that’s how I happened to learn that if you’re flying late at night it feels more intimate. People talk more. I had some very interesting conversations. Eventually, though conversations petered out as we nodded off.

Comment by RobinM 11.14.08 @ 6:30 pm

And waiting at home for the phone call saying the wait would end…for 28 hours was nerve wracking. Alison, your 45 minutes early is manageable compared to the 24 hours early that I was told my flight from Amsterdam back to the states would be…and then when I got there, it wasn’t going to be early at all! So much for seeing Paris as I’d planned to do–I got 24 unexpected hours in Holland instead. (hmm…Delft park bench because Delft did NOT have youth hostels in 1978…yeah, that’s better than Paris? Not.) Glad you made the flight!

Comment by Karen 11.19.08 @ 12:16 pm

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