I’m ready – finally. Having packed and re-packed my carry-on bag no less than five times, I’m ready to call for a cab to take me to the airport. A fine start to the beginning of my solo adventure to Denver. Phone call made, I begin to unpack – yet again. Logic being: I must be able to fit my purse in there along with everything else, I just need to rearrange things a little. I have been informed that the taxi will take at least 20 minutes to arrive. The dispatcher was…wrong. The doorbell rang when I was only halfway down into the bag. Oh dear. Stuff, cram, jam and zip (of course while attempting to restrain the contents which were trying to liberate themselves).
A nervous, rather jumpy traveller, I arrived at the airport a full four hours early. I suppose I’m cautious with a capital “c”. Nervous and awkward though I am, I feel prepared. My wallet has been emptied of absolutely everything not relevant to the trip, Visa has been informed of my travel plans, the boys are safely ensconced with Liz and I have plotted my path needed when I’m disgorged from the cab.
Once at the airport I feel overwhelmed by the sheer size of the place. I’m a tiny sparrow entering an eagle’s aerie, I move ahead tentatively. Where do I go? What do I need to do? Is there still an airport improvement fee to be paid?
Slight p a n i c.
Right in front of me is a small counter with some pamphlets. I drop my bag down and try to gain a bearing of where I am. In the correct place apparently – what luck. Or should I say, what luck that the airport was planned well – considering idiots like me. I have landed at the US Customs Declaration pamphlet counter – good. Document complete, I head towards the check-in counters, gasping in distress when the lineup appears to be long enough that it looks as though people have set up camp; their belongings sprawled around them haphazardly. Like a beacon in the night a computer kiosk glints in the light beckoning me to come over and try its check-in process. Surprisingly simple (am I referring to myself or the kiosk?), I’m quickly checked in and smugly saunter towards security having dodged the gargantuan lineup. The airport continues to shock and surprise me as I easily flow through security, US Customs, the declaration desk and at last I proceed to the pre-boarding waiting area. Yes! This travelling thing isn’t too bad – yet.
I have plenty of time to have lunch (a bento box – yummy) and enjoy a leisurely wait at my departure gate. My new read “Adventures in Solitude – What Not to Wear to a Nudist Potluck” is certainly entertaining and my waiting time passes quickly. After two other flights have departed from my gate, it looks like my flight is next.
I wonder how I’ll cope on board. In the waiting area I’ve moved twice to get away from annoying fellow passengers. It’s odd. When I first sat down I was the only person in a row of twenty seats. What would possess someone to sit directly beside me? How could that seat possibly have been more inviting than the other seventeen not directly adjacent to me? I couldn’t take it – after five minutes of said person slamming against the seat-back I up-sticks and relocated. My next location wasn’t much better. It had at first looked appealing, what with the cheerful European family quietly chatting amongst themselves. Well, as soon as they boarded their plane to LA, a sports group, raucous with youthful vigour and excitement, filled the seats around me. Their excitement, not being particularly contagious, I escaped to the most isolated, bleak chair available. It’s really not that bad. I have a view of my plane and the tarmac and lots of legroom in front of me.
As the lot of us proceed through the final screening, I’m informed that my seat has been re-allocated. Hmmm, pardon me? My seat has been… what? A few heart palpitations later and I’m seated in a slightly upgraded seat with a bit of leg room. Nice. As we taxi out onto the runway the pilot makes his usual announcements and tells us that it looks like we’re going to have a “short, quick flight to the land of Denver.” Land of Denver?