Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You CAN go home again

Getting back out may be an issue.

My folks live in Podunk, NY.  That's a functional description, not a proper name.

Last visit, our flight home got cancelled.  I flew out of Marginally Larger but Still Dying City two hours away in order to ensure a direct flight.  The flight cancelled late and then pregnant me had to schlep all our bags and the three year old up way past her bedtime through various lines, shuttle rides and other tortures before arriving exhausted in our hotel room.  Not once did any business man--aka miscreants raised by wolves--traveling alone, offer me assistance or allow me ahead of them in line.  Several were distracted by their cyber worlds and probably never noticed me.  The rest, including the one who taught my princess some interesting new vocabulary, were too engaged in their own misery to appreciate that they were NOT pregnant, NOT weighted down with bags, NOT caring for a child up way past their bedtime.

This trip, we flew out of Podunk.  Not expecting the six gate local airport to be thronged, we arrived just one hour prior to flight.  Nonetheless, we still had to wait around for 15 minutes for someone to open the screening line--"Back by 5" promised the sign.  Not something we've ever encountered at O'Hare, our local airport.  At O'Hare, the screening agents don't kindly take my stroller off the screening line and reopen it for me either.

Nothing goes direct to Podunk and our connection was in Philly.  For those who don't fly a whole lot, connection in fly-speak means three hour delay.

When we finally got to board sometime around 10pm, the gate agent called first class, priority so and sos, zippity do dahs and various other special groups, but not families with children.  I hovered at the edge of the crowd, beginning to wonder how the 12 year old and I were going to get a car seat, a stroller, a carry on bag and two backpacks onto the plane all the while holding a just-fallen asleep baby in my arms.

A man whose mother raised him right noticed me.  "Oh, please.  Go ahead of me."

"Thanks, but I don't think they've called families."

"You have a baby!  They'll let you on.  Go ahead."

I edged forward a bit and the gate agent noticed me.  Fixing me with a stare, he got on his horn and announced that they were boarding ONLY first class, priority so and sos and zippity do dah customers.  They rest of us would board by zone.

I slinked to the side when I heard my hero whose mother raised him right yell out, "Come on!  She has a baby!"

The gate agent, looking like he wanted to kill me, made a marginal motion that could possibly indicate I might be allowed to approach the promised land of the jetway.  I started toward the gate with my baby in arms, purse over my shoulder, pushing my car seat in the stroller, my other kid following with the rolling carry-on and our other earthly goods.  The gate agent, in a fit of I-am-still-in-control-even-though-your-hero-has-embarrassed-me-into-allowing-you-to-board, suddenly tells me he wants me in the *other* lane leading to the gate.  Mind you, these two lanes lead to the same door to the jetway, are about 20 feet long and I am the only one in either one of them.  They are separated by a black, waist high band.

I hesitate, wondering if I am limber enough to get everything UNDER the band or whether it might be easier to back up my limousine length stroller and begin again.

My knight in shining denim pipes up again.  "She's already in the lane.  Just let her on.  C'mon!"  At this point, he is shaking his head in disgust.

Gate guy now looks like he may eat my baby while killing me, but allows me forward.  Of course, in trying to hand him my tickets, I bump him with my stroller.  He is not amused.

We finally, with some further assistance by a lady who takes pity on children trying to hoist heavy carry on bags into compartments, get onto the plane.

I see the angel on earth whose mother raised him right stowing his items on board.  "Thank you.  You must have children."

"Well, they're older now, but I mean, I get it, you know?"

Yeah, I do.  And don't think my 12 year old didn't hear a soliloquy during our 40 minute tarmac wait about the type of man I expect him to grow up into.  THAT man.  Advocate for women and children.



  1. I was laughing out loud through this whole post. I can't believe the airport guy was so mean! Glad to hear about your knight in shining armor!

    I was traveling once with a baby and I was randomly selected for a full body search while running to catch a connection... me, baby, stroller and all. I also experienced the evil glare when I asked an airport employee if she could help me get my stroller off the conveyor belt. (She declined.) Good times.

  2. I used to have to fly back and forth to Germany with a baby and toddler in tow. Oh, did this every bring back memories! :0)