Sunday, May 17, 2009

Impeccable timing

My trip to CA got off to an odd start.

If you've ever seen the DFW airport, you'll know that it's HUGE. As big as a city, really. And you have to know the gate you are departing from ahead of time or you might as well just go back home.

So, since I'm a pro at it (not) it seemed easy enough to find gate D34. Look for D, follow the signs to gate 34. But why did the signs keep pointing me back to gate 22? I drove around and around seeing nothing but D 1-22. I would see the signs for D34, but then they would lead me right back to gate 22.

Eventually I gave up and parked at gate 17. It was a happy medium. But it was a long walk to the D34 ticket counter once I was inside the terminal.

Since my foot was objecting to the walk, I ordered a wheelchair once I checked in. It took forever to come. But it did eventually arrive and wouldn't you know it, a mentally challenged young man was pushing it. And since I am not wheelchair savvy... I had to let him push me in it. I have no idea how to steer one of those things and pull a suitcase and carry a garment bag and my Starbucks drink. And my purse. So he got the job.

I had originally booked a flight to bring me into the Orange County airport at 8:25pm but had changed it the night before to bring me in at 2:25. I felt the urgency to arrive in CA as fast as I could. And since that urge was still so strong, I also put myself on a standby list for an even earlier flight... one that was about to board now.

Could Mr. Mentally Challenged get me there on time? I decided to give it a shot. Yet he was the slowest person on earth... and I don't mean mentally. I mean physically. Mr. Mentally Challenged did not hurry. And he was popular. He had to say hello to everyone he knew. And he knew everyone. And he sure took his time getting me through the security checkpoint.

It was somewhere during that snail's pace of a wheelchair ride though that I realized I was not in control. Mr. M. Challenged was not in control. Someone else was at work here and I was anxious to see how this all played out.

I had a secured seat on a flight leaving at 1:25. But I was trying my best to get on a flight that left at 12:05. Yet to get on that flight Mr. M.C. and I had to run to board a shuttle train to cross from Gate D34 to C14 . Running was not his forte. And it was not a quick little train ride, either. I think it stopped in New York and New Jersey before it arrived at Terminal C. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life. I began to feel like all the forces in the planet were against me.

Let's see... I'd booked my trip just three days earlier with no trouble. There was still room on both flights. I'd secured a room in a hotel nearby. I had a car waiting for me. Then when I decided to take a different flight the night before... that had been easy, too. And the change fee was minimal. Then when I'd wanted to leave work early to get to the airport early to try to get an even earlier flight, my coworkers had graciously accepted the extra work I was throwing at them. Nope, those planet forces were not against me... things were lining up perfectly.

I had gotten to the airport early and although I could not find my gate, I was still able to get on standby for that even earlier flight. And here I was riding along with Mr. M.C. going slowly, but going through all the back routes and short cuts of the airport. M.C. was slow but he was knowledgeable of the airport.

And when we finally pulled up at Gate C14.... there was a line of people. They had not boarded yet. The plane had been delayed. What were the odds? Now if I could just get on it, life would be beautiful.

The agent at the little desk saw me in my wheelchair and had me wait up front. I tried to explain that I didn't have a seat on this flight but he just smiled. And before I knew it, M.C. Hammer was pushing me to the plane. We had made it with absolutely no time to spare. And there was ONE seat left on that flight and I had gotten it. AND I got to board first. I always appreciate Rick the most when, because of him, we board airplanes first.

The planet was no longer working against me. In fact, looking back, I've never had more impeccable timing. Even the delay in the parking lot was probably all part of the master plan to put me where I needed to be at exactly the right times.

Elizabeth calls them Godshots. When your path is clear and everything just works. I saw nothing but Godshots in my quest to get to California.

I had one more hurdle to overcome though. The car. Since I was so desperate to get there "in time" to see Nancy... I envisioned a long ride from the airport to the rental car place in a rickety tram that made a gazillion stops before dropping me off. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Once off the plane in CA, the Alamo desk was the first one I saw on the ground transportation level. And I was first in line. AND there was no tram to catch. My little Chevrolet Aveo, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Rio or Pontiac something-or-other was waiting for me just outside the door. It even seemed to have a smile on it's face.

I had to marvel at how everything worked so perfectly. The timing couldn't have been better and I couldn't have been more amazed at how I was obviously supposed to be here right now. It all just worked. And yes, I made it in time.

I'm about to head home now from a very long, very fulfilling, very tiring but very rewarding weekend trip.

I plan to return next weekend. I'm not even going to hope that it all goes as smoothly. I'm too tired. But I will already know that I will get there when I'm meant to get there... and that the timing then will be impeccable, too.

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