I texted the Baby Bear this morning.
Don’t miss your plane.
I included that smiley face emoji with the hearts for eyes. It was mostly to annoy. Our children get very annoyed when us Olds use emojis. It’s best–regarding maximum annoyance–when I use them inappropriately, like using the pile of shit emoji as if it’s a beehive. But even appropriate emoji use is an affront. You know, parents trying to be hip. They hate that. So I do that for my amusement.
Seven hours later I texted him again.
You on a plane yet??
I wasn’t thinking that he was late, but there was no emoji.
We had to change busses on the way delayed us a bit. In security now.
Seemed on target.
Thirty-five minutes later my phone rings. Guess who was standing at his gate with the door to the jetway closed in front of him and no Southwest staff to be found? Yup. Our hero. As I was telling him to find an open counter, I switched from the primary conversation to talking to myself as he engaged a guy. It was like when you get butt-dialed from someone in a bar and all you hear is muffled words and clinks. Until the line goes dead.
I went online to see what was coming out of Denver into one of the three Washington airports tonite. Yeah, it’s good to have options. That said, it’s less good to be looking for afternoon options when you’re flying east.
Baby Bear swore that he left with enough time to get to the airport. He knows exactly how to miss a flight, and those hard lessons have prodded him to always take the earlier bus. I believe him. The problem was the early bus was driving into a blizzard.
Of course, the first snow in Boulder would occur as he’s trying to get to the airport. The roads were a mess and they were further delayed when they had to switch buses. The security lines were long at the airport and he was getting antsy. He texted.
Wish I could barge to the front
That’s where I lost contact. Adding insult to injury, when he finally made it to the security screening area, the puffer picked something up. He was moved to secondary screening. Mild panic was beginning to seep into the corners of the reptilian part of his brain. No reason to get huffy with TSA, though. That never goes well.
The Bear offered that he was pressed to make his flight as the burly man came up to him. The agent explained that he was in training and they needed to wait for his supervisor for the grope. Baby Bear was deflated and nearing distraught.
Can’t your boss just do it?
Of course not. The agent took off his blue gloves and pulled on a fresh pair. As he snapped one rubber glove on–latex free mind you–it broke. He removed that pair and walked over to get another pair. The clock in Bear’s head was ticking at greater and greater volume.
The agent pulled on another pair of gloves. He once again snapped the left glove on and broke that one, too.
Third time being the charm, he started the pat down.
Sir, I am going to put my hand along the top of your pants.
Sir, I am going to touch the inside of your leg.
Really? The guy is going to insist on getting affirmation for each step in the process? YES! YES! YES! Said Baby Bear who simply wanted the guy to hurry up and pat his junk so he could make his flight.
Of course, his flight was in C. Translated that means the far end of the large airport. He hustled to his gate–risking breaking his swag–to that closed door. He could see the plane. So close. A man opened the door and told Baby Bear that he lost his seat ten minutes ago to standby.
But there is an empty seat on that plane!
There was indeed a seat on the plane. And, also indeed, the plane door was secured. They were not going to open it up. No way. No how. No matter the pleading of a young man who was just trying to get home. No matter that his solution was just beyond a closed door.
Baby Bear pulled himself from the abyss of his disappointment that was flirting too closely with anger as he walked to the counter to see his options. He relayed his disastrous TSA delay to the airline staffer who nodded vehemently.
I don’t know what it is, but they’ve been really bad.
Baby Bear got rebooked through Nashville, which has the nonsense airport code BNA. He’ll be an hour later than originally scheduled, but, most excellently, he still comes into DCA versus IAD or BWI, two options much further from headquarters.
Call it National. We don’t call it Reagan in this house.
What a day of travel. Blizzards. Bad buses. Security delays. Poor customer service. And a door slammed in his face. I can’t wait to see him!
I’m thinking that Santa may put some TSA Pre-√ in somebody’s Christmas stocking.