The trip from hell
Have you ever had one of those weeks where you feel like you should just go to bed, pull the covers over your head, and forget about everything until the next Sunday morning? I picked Sunday morning because for me that's my reset time, my favorite morning beverage, sitting the patio in the rose garden, a cool morning breeze, and two large puppies wanting my attention. After a hard week, this renewing cycle is what tends to make me feel better about the world. Alas, I am ahead of myself and you need to hear about the shady week prior to appreciate Sunday Morning.
On occasion, I have to travel for work, usually not more than a week or two every few months. This past month, for one reason or another I've been on the road most of the time. The trips themselves were okay, in fact, I had a lot of fun and visited a Museum in El Paso Texas, which is the subject of a different post, you should check that one out. Anywho, upon leaving El Paso my flight bounced through Phoenix and then finally to Salt Lake City. Things were looking good in Phoenix, we landed almost a half-hour early and on an hour and a half flight that's pretty impressive. Unfortunately, we sat on the tarmac for a while before the pilot announced to us there was not a gate open.
Okay, I can understand with hundreds and maybe thousands of flights out each day, our being early might've thrown a wrench into the cogs. However, from my window, I can see several gates that are open. After a few minutes, it is announced that the real problem is, “they can't find someone to operate a gate,” more specifically the jetway.
I'm not saying that the folks who run these things aren't highly qualified people, I'm sure they are. However, I've seen the controls, a couple buttons, and a joystick. I know for a fact just outside the gate in the waiting area there are at least half a dozen Rugrats searching for Pokémon. Talk about an overqualified workforce and tipping the scales towards the supply side.
“Somebody grab a 12-year-old, steal their phone, and tell them they don't get it back until they put the jetway against the airplane. How hard can it be? I promise you the 12-year-old will have more experience with a joystick than anybody you currently have on staff.” My thoughts bounce around and seem legit.
Long story short, my 30 min. time buffer between flights had now been eaten down to “my current flight is leaving.” So from my gate I sprint across the airport, luckily Phoenix is not a huge airport and relatively easy to get around in. I arrive at my departing gate only to find the flight has been delayed because they can't find a gate operator to unload the previous flight.
A couple pieces of useful information, the monitors still say “On-time”, I could have avoided the late evening cardio session, and since this flight is going to Salt Lake City, home of 6.66 kids per family, there are at least 30 12-year-olds with their faces buried in their pokey devices, again my thoughts “fly” and I offer the same advice.
My approachable demeanor betrays me and one of the other passengers begins a conversation as if we are best friends all the while dropping F-bombs left and right. Now I am no stranger to cursing, in fact, given the correct environment, I truly appreciate and have strewn an intricate network of verbal atrocities that could make Andrew Dice Clay blush. (Nothing but love for the dice man) However, I am also a big fan of manners (although like all of us I could do better.)
So, no chance of getting a 12-year-old to operate the gate as they have all been traumatized and are now clinging to their mothers and fathers in a quivering huddled mass peering at me as if I were Jim Jones offering them Kool-Aid (which by Utah state law they cannot refuse.) Why they all choose to look at me as if this is somehow my fault I'm not quite sure. So while nodding as if to be listening to the man I politely excused myself to go buy some almonds and a water. I'm not sure, but hopefully he picked someone else to talk to in my absence, I hate to think he had to bottle up all that frustration.
Okay fast-forward and we land in Salt Lake without further incident. I find my luggage, piece of cake, the world is seeming right as rain and all has realigned itself to my positive and cheery disposition. Time for us to squeeze onto the cattle car that is the long-term parking bus. BTW - Why do people think it's okay to fight to be the first one on the long-term parking bus, step inside the door and set their bags down on the floor then act as if the rest of us who want to get on the bus are stupid when we ask them to get out of the way? Anyway, as luck would have it, good genetics and a decent gym schedule have given me the perfect “excuse me” body type. (known as “con permiso” in Mexico)
Luck shines on me once more, there was a petite young lady in front of me who was quietly asking permission to pass and being ignored by the self-appointed “gatekeepers”. What an excellent opportunity for chivalry, and in lieu of running down a few peasants and looting their villages for my lord, I will run over the two ignorant pro-traveler businessmen types & their luggage whilst I clear a path. Mission accomplished and a string of folks follow, filling up the cattle car.
Now I get to the parking lot and I find my Jeep. Many who see my Jeep admire my wonderful roof rack and I'm sure they believe that I stack piles of camping and outdoor equipment up there for my adventures. In reality, I only put the rack on the Jeep so I could find it in parking lots amongst the plethora of other jeeps. Unfortunately, when I find my dark steed, it is just that, dark, battery dead.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, after blasting through the two poor “businass-holes” earlier that this is karma. It may be, I won't argue the point, I did use an extra elbow. In reality, I think I probably left something turned on. My reasoning is, shortly after discovering my electrically challenged ride, at this point it identifies as a covered wagon, a nice young man stopped and gave me a jumpstart. It is now about 12:30 AM, I am just about two hours behind schedule and I have been up since 05:30 AM, yesterday technically. So in my Jeep I go, turn on a fav podcast (Dan Carlin's hardcore history, give it a listen).
I have about 40 min. of driving to get to my home, luckily it's all freeway, smooth sailing right? Not so fast. Traffic is a little thicker than normal and suddenly on a stretch of freeway, I noticed the lights not more than 50 feet ahead of me throw up dust and start swerving. This is never a good sign. I begin to slow down. Rocks and gravel are flying everywhere and one connects with my windshield chunking up a big ole star. For some reason, construction crews had created a football field of gravel in all lanes in this section of the 70 mi./h freeway, no warning signs, no caution, and no orange barrels. (Keep in mind this is Utah, we have at least 6.66 orange barrels per person in this state.)
Again I know what you're thinking, karma. I didn't really have to kick that gentleman's carry-on back out of the bus once I elbowed him. I won't argue, you may be right. However, I would point out, I doubt seriously the cars behind me did anything to that gentleman, and I promise you given the tires on my Jeep, and the amount of swerving that happened behind me, I busted a couple windows myself.
Broken Windows, that's what Sunday mornings are for, repairing Broken Windows.
Be happy, be healthy, be a smart4$$, and share your adventures!