I almost missed my flight home last week, and I totally feel like a celebrity superhero mega-champ about it.
The real kicker is, this genius was waiting in the airport for an hour before boarding time…
at the wrong gate.
Basically, I made a huge mistake I’ll never make again. But hey, it’s a pretty funny story.
I arrived at the San Francisco airport with about an hour to spare before my flight to Medford. Using my deceitful smartphone as guidance (never trust a robot!), I lazily meandered toward the gate that was listed on my electronic boarding pass.
Totally neglecting to double check the correct gate at one of the massive flight boards they have posted all over the airport in several obvious locations, [!!!THIS IS THE BIG MISTAKE, RIGHT HERE!!!] I settled into a chair with a view and submerged my mind in my favorite steamy, time-travel, historic hot romance novel.
By the time I realized my company of waiting travelers were all headed to Reno, my flight to Medford was just wrapping up its boarding process.
In such a panic, the entire experience can only be recalled in flashes.
A quick glance at the flight board, the mad dash to the gate, streaks of light flying past my eyes, bounding over small children, my lungs burning.
Rollerboard suitcases everywhere.
No time to screech to a halt, I stopped myself by crashing into a window instead. Looking out, I could see the plane still there, but they had already pulled away the passenger loading ramp and closed the cabin door.
Game face on, I turned to the first people I saw and blurted my situation in a somewhat comprehensible explosion of frenzied begging.
It went something like this:
“I need to get on that plane right now pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.”
“There’s nothing we can do,” one of the dudes said.
“Yeah, it’s too late,” the other one chimed in.
And so began the yelling and arm flailing.
Spinning in a tizzy of dismay and terror, something bright and shiny caught my eye. A petite, bespectacled woman in an absolutely fetching hi-viz reflector vest approached in an attempt to diffuse the crisis. It’s clear now that she missed her true calling as a middle school guidance counselor.
I’m not sure if hi-viz was my hero, or if it was the generically handsome pilot chilling nearby with a walkie-talkie. I was too busy bouncing around the gate, yelling and begging to be let onto the plane.
After regarding me with the most striking expressions of genuine pity I’ve ever seen, the pilot said he could call someone.
As I continued to bound around, whimpering like a puppy on Adderall, hi-viz yelled to me, “Someone is coming!”
“Is it Steinheimer?” I heard a voice shout up from a staircase I didn’t realize was even there until an airport employee ascended from it.
Fuck yes, it’s Steinheimer. Who else would it be? My father warned me things like this would happen.
My pleasepleaseplease’s became thankyouthankyouthankyou’s as I flew down the steps, knocking two poles over in the process.
When I finally got on the plane, the flight attendants greeted me with huge smiles. “You made it!” one of them congratulated me.
Instant relief. Not only did I get my ass on the plane, but everyone was stoked about it!
Yes, I did make it. Now I am a rock star.
Once I settled into my seat, the exertion of my efforts began to manifest. I suddenly realized I was extremely hot, flushed and sweaty. I imagined my hair to be frizzing out in all directions and my eyes to be bugging right out of my face. In my mind, I was just one swollen, lolling tongue short of a scene from the Exorcist.
A little girl a few seats ahead kept turning to glance at me. I couldn’t tell if it was because I looked like a nut case or because she also thought I was awesome. Maybe both?
As we took off, the hilarity of the situation began to sink in. I thought of how my mom reminded me three times that day what time all my flights and shuttles were, and wondered what she would say if she was with me.
I also realized that I’m not pushing myself hard enough with “speedwork.” I can move way faster than I thought!
I really wanted to laugh out loud, but I thought that would just be a little too much crazy for my surrounding passengers to handle.
I stifled my giggles, bottling them up until I was safely on the ground in Medford, Ore. As I sauntered down the parking lot pathway toward my big mess of a truck, I just let my head fall back and cracked the fuck up. No one but myself and the pink-streaked expanse of evening sky was in on the joke, but that didn’t make it any less entertaining.
Life is funny.
Freelance writer. Trail runner. Relentless savage.