Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Travelin’ Tuesday

I woke up early on Tuesday and couldn’t fall asleep. So, I gave up and got up. I had a cup of coffee, fooled around on the computer for bit and then finished packing. As you probably guessed, I was headed back down south for sunny South Carolina for the holidays.

Sidebar: “Sunny South Carolina” works for the alliteration aspect, but I am misleading you.

I made it to the airport early, to give myself plenty of time to park. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many empty parking places there were, though.

And checking in went smooth and fast, as well.

There was, however, a long line at security. But, my tickets had TSA PreCheck on them.

Sidebar #1: I’m guessing its because I am an old white guy. How many terrorist acts are committed by old white guys?

Sidebar #2: But I’ve tried this before. They only make you walk through the metal detector. Then they get all pissy when you set it off.

So, this time I used the PreCheck lane. Nobody was in it while lots of people were in the normal screening lanes.

But, I told the smiling little TSA lady that I was going to set it off, before I walked through. She stopped smiling and looked at me hard until I explained I had an artificial knee. Then she smiled again and called for a male pat down. So, I got through quickly and never even had to walk through the metal detector!

I had plenty of time before my flight left, so I moseyed down to the gate. The nearest food joint was “The Earl of Sandwich.” I ordered a hot egg, cheese and ham sandwich. She sliced the bun and split it. Ham went on one half and cheese on the other. The egg mixture was measured into a teeny-tiny cast iron skillet.  She loaded everything on a small conveyor that, I assume, ran it under a broiler. When it came out the other end, she assembled it, wrapped it and poured a cup of coffee. She handed that to me and I hander her $6.95.

It was under-salted, but I had planned for that and took a salt packet. I opened the sandwich up, salted it and let it cool for a bit while I sipped the coffee. Then I ate it. It was really good! Probably not worth the money, but airport food rarely is.

We boarded the plane on time and took off. It was a full flight and overbooked. They offered $300.00 to anyone who would reschedule and some people did. I’m always tempted, and, if I only had a rental car waiting for me at the other end, I probably would.

Sidebar: I was seated seated next to a small Hispanic woman, who read or slept through the entire flight. The only words we exchanged was when I told her at the beginning she was sitting on my seatbelt. I figured that was safer than reaching for it under her.

I was still full of coffee, so I declined the drink service. We had some turbulence just before landing and it was raining in Charlotte. Carla had texted me my next gate and said to hurry because I only had 45 minutes. But we were still taxiing in from the runway! Then she sent me another text saying my next flight was delayed half an hour. But, by now I was anxious.

So, it was another airport marathon from one end of the airport to the other. I got to the right gate, but my flight wasn’t listed! And, there wasn’t one of those big informational screens, that far into the terminal. So, knowing that its always the other end of the terminal, I walked around, looking at each gates signs. I found it two gates down (Thank God!)

Sitting next to me in the waiting area was a young, huge black guy with dreadlocks. He had his foot is a cast and one of those scooters I’ve seen in therapy (you put your bad knee on the seat and propel yourself with your good foot). Everybody was fussing over him (stewardesses coming over, people asking for autographs, etc.). I’m guessing he was an injured football player, but what do I know.

Unfortunately, I was behind him out on the tarmac, boarding the plane (still little, but this time a jet). So I had to wait in the rain while he painfully made his way up the steps. I felt bad for the guy, having to hop up one step at a time.

The pilot apologized for the flight delay and explained it was weather related.

This time my seat partner was a friendly middle-aged black woman who also had a book and a bag of baby carrots. She offered some to me, but I declined. So we just chatted a bit in the short flight.

We landed in Columbia. I sent a text to my boss, Vicky and Jake, letting me know I’d arrived safely, then I went and got my luggage.  The football player (or whoever he was) was standing next to me, his knee on the scooter. His duffel bag came out just before my suitcase, but hung up, high on the carrousel. He asked me if I would please grab it for him and I said sure. I damn near killed myself, trying to reach over and up that high! But, us crips gotta stick together!

I went outside to wait for Jake. It wasn’t raining at that time, but there was a heavy mist in the air. And, it was WARM.

Jake pulled up and put my stuff in the car, then we headed home.

We chatted on the way home and then I got my usual exuberant greeting from Carla and Whisky.

I changed clothes and we all relaxed a bit. They had their tree up and lighted, but no decorations. So we spent a “Christmassy” time putting the bulbs on. Jake topped it with a star and we called it good. And, it was.

Carla had prepped for tonight’s dinner by cooking some sausage and dicing up veggies. There was a ball of pizza dough rising on the counter, too. So, when we got hungry, Jake rolled out the dough and Carla assembled the fixings. A short time in the oven and we had homemade pizza.

It was delicious. And, Carla turned me on to a new way of eating it: dipped in homemade ranch dressing. The pizza really didn’t need it, but it was a fresh alternative to pizza eating.

We watched a little TV, but I was starting to fall asleep and so was Carla. So, we called it an early night.

I had to refill my pill box, set out my toiletries, etc. before I went to bed. I read just a little and then crashed.


  1. glad your safe, my text message never arrived. Say hello to the family!

    p.s. Why didn't you ask who your crip friend was?

  2. @ GPF: Sorry about the text message. I sometimes forget that there are people out there like you who actually give a shit. I really should have asked him who he was...