Quick Summer Trip, Part Three: Sunday

Sunday morning came bright and early. Kurt drove us all to the airport in his car. Karl had the first flight out at 6:30, Rachel had a flight at 7:00 going to Dallas for a five-day yearbook convention, and I was the one with time to kill, since my flight didn't leave until 10:00. I decided that all I was going to do was change clothes, and then shower when I got home. We slept in a bit later than planned, but still managed to leave for the airport at 5:00 a.m.

Once we got to the terminal, we said our goodbyes and split up. I had a lot of free time on my hands, so I decided to look around the Northwest Airlines terminal to see what my breakfast options were. The Northwest terminal is huge. When I'd arrived, I'd walked down the slidewalks to the baggage claim, not realizing how far it was. It turned out that it would have been quicker and easier just to take the red tram bullet train from the North station to the Central station and get off there. Well, this time I rode the tram down to the North station, only to realize that my best option for breakfast was Burger King, back at the Central station, so back I went.

One oddity about the Northwest terminal is that its signs are bilingual: English and Japanese. I was kind of surprised, but I did see a large number of Japanese-looking people on the day I arrived. Mom explained that some of the Japanese companies had joint ventures with the Detroit auto makers, and a lot of Japanese worked here and more of their countrymen came to visit them.

As I ate my breakfast at Burger King, I thought about how odd it would be to have a job where you had to go through airport security every day to get to work.

I spent an hour or so watching CNN on the big screen TV in a seat at the gate across from the gate from which my plane was due to leave. When it started to get repetitious, I went across the aisle to my own gate, turned on the Zevon music and read until it was time to catch my flight.

It turned out that the plane was overbooked and they asked for volunteers to be bumped. As if! Nope, not me, folks. I had noticed when I ordered my ticket that it was fairly expensive, but in order to get the times I wanted to fly, and nonstop flights, I had to take the combination I did. Well, the reason it was so expensive was that the return flight was in First Class. This time, I was due to be in 03 B, the aisle seat, but when I started to sit down, the lady in the window seat asked if I would mind switching with her husband, who was in the window seat in front of her. Well, I didn't have a problem with that, so I did.

It was nice having a wider seat, and flying First Class is flying the way it used to be, before all of the cost-cutting measures that airlines have taken. I had lunch included with my ticket, and had a nice fruit salad: strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, pineapple and slivered almonds on a bed of lettuce. There was also some kind of cold oaty stuff with corn and beans, that I had about two bites of and then passed on, cheese and crackers, a roll with butter, and a little cup of Cherry Garcia ice cream. Mmmmm, ice cream!

I read some more and listened to more Zevon tunes, as I watched the crinkled mountain landscape roll by below me. It wasn't long until I watched the Gulf Coast of Florida passing below, Tampa Bay, then Charlotte County, then Cape Coral and Fort Myers. We circled around and came in for a landing at the airport. I disembarked at the same gate from which I had left, made a beeline for the restroom to answer Nature's call, then went to the baggage claim to wait for my suitcase to arrive.

Eventually my suitcase arrived. I went outside and got on the long-term parking shuttle. Found my car with no problem. $30 for three days. What a racket! Drove home; two blocks away, it starts to sprinkle. "Just five minutes," I asked the Rain Gods. "Just give me five minutes, that's all I'm asking." The sprinkles stopped. Got home, unloaded my gear, went inside to check the critters' food and water. There was still plenty left. Ten minutes later, it rained cats and dogs. My lucky timing had held.

Epilogue: Last night, it was back to work. I had recharged my iPod and took it to work with me. Only one problem: I'd forgotten to grab the earbuds out of the camera case. Oops. I just laughed and shook my head. Looks like my luck had run out.