“Yes! Lets do dinner tonight,” I chimed. “I don’t have to catch my plane until 8:10 so we have plenty of time.”
Clearly the words of a scatter-brained fool. Why? Because that was my arrival time.
This was the last day of the Type A Parent conference in Atlanta. My brain was on overload from learning, meeting, schmoozing and generally trying to keep up. Emotionally I was spent, too. For the past few weeks work had been kicking my butt. On top of that, I had gone to Virginia for work the week before and just hadn’t had any time to think about the conference at all. I had no idea what to expect.
The one thing I did do was arrange a roommate in advance. Unlike my roommates at Blissdom (who were awesome), Jennifer wasn’t a stranger and we were already friends. That put my mind at ease some and I didn’t stress too much about meeting new people. I had no idea that I would meet some amazing women to whom I felt immediately connected. Jennifer, Jana, Crystal and Gina were so much fun to be around. Really though, those words don’t do it justice. We had so much in common. There were so many parallels. And their stories and backgrounds touched me deeply.
I’m not one to share my baggage, but I felt as though I could have and they wouldn’t have minded. Maybe I will next time. Or maybe I’ll eventually break through my fear of sharing like Crystal said we all should be able to do and just write. I hope I can.
But on that last day, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to go to dinner with Gina and plan a fantastic Disney trip. Too bad I’m a tool. After Erika Napolitano finished the final keynote of the weekend, I thought to check my flight to make sure it was on time. That is when I realized I had to get the Hell out of there quick! CW had to work that night and space waits for no one…
“Run!” Jana said.
I grabbed my bags, hugged and kissed a few people and bolted. The bellman said the MARTA would be fastest and there were two other girls headed that way so we walked down together. I was tired, ragged and so freaked that I would miss that flight. So naturally, when the friendly hobo at the station ushered me through the gate and offered me his pass for $2.50 I said, “Sure!” Dumbass. The ticket was obviously fake, but I was too rushed to care.
At the airport station, the two awesome strangers who were with me offered to pass through and buy me a ticket at the airport station. When I saw the handicapped gate wide open, I ran through it and thanked them both profusely and we headed to the terminal. I thanked them over and over and over and proceeded to head to check in.
Again, I ran. To the wrong terminal. Naturally.
When I finally figured out where to go, I had 35 minutes to check in and get to the gate. The Southwest attendant couldn’t guarantee my bag would meet me in Houston. “I don’t care, I just need to get home,” I told her.
And then I ran to security.
I cut through a restaurant to get to security and the lines where so long. In a sweaty panic, I pleaded with strangers to let me cut in line. They all did graciously. Much nicer than the scamming hobo at the train station. Security was a breeze, but I still had to take the train to my terminal.
And I ran to the train.
And then I stood on that train, catching my breath while sharing a pole with a precocious little girl who’s dad laughed while pleading her to stop dancing on said pole.
“My daughter does that, too,” I assured him. “We should both be so proud.”
When the door opened at my stop, I ran. Again.
And then I had to pee.
In the end, I got to the gate in time for my section to board. I had a glass of wine to relax, settled in with my copy of “Astronaut Wives Club” and laughed at myself. I’m 38 years old and I’ve never, ever been late for a flight like that. I’m perpetually two hours early. But it was hilarious and the perfect ending to the perfect weekend.