Dearest Rachel –
I sort of knew it was going to happen. I arrived at the airport before one in the afternoon, and Luke advised me to try and get my name on the ‘standby’ list. And in fact, there were two flights scheduled to ORD before mine, one at 3:45 and another at 5:50. So you’d think there would be a chance.
I don’t remember which comedian said it, but it’s definitely true that the reason they call it ‘standby’ is because you just wind up standing there looking at the plane and going “bye.”
I was watching the list of people on the standby both times. There were five people ahead of me on the 3:45, and only three made it on before they rolled back the gangplank. Okay, fine. That was probably too much to expect that I’d be able to leave four hours early. And maybe this means there will only be a couple of people ahead of my for the 5:50.
But no; while I made sure to let the fellow at the gate know I was hoping to get on through standby, when the screen came up after the regular passengers had boarded, there were now eight people in line ahead of me.
So, that was it. No luck for me, although I admit to not having expected any. It was still disappointing – and somewhat baffling. Where did all these other people come from, and how did they get ahead of me?
Well, no matter. I at least have a ticket for the 7:45 flight, so I know I’m getting home tonight, regardless. Only… where the gate I need to be at now? B36, and I’m at B35 for the 5:50, so the good news is, it’s right across the corridor. The bad news is…
…there’s a long people mover between the two gates that I have to go all the way around. Well, it isn’t as if I don’t have plenty of time now (in fact, B36 is still boarding a flight to Houston at the moment, so there’s nothing that’s going to happen for a long time…
…unless they start to page me on the airport PA system. Wait, they’re summoning me for the 5:50 after all, after I gave up and headed to the other gate?
It would seem so – which means I have to absolutely book it back around the people mover and arrive, slightly out of breath, back at B35, where I’m told to get moving if I want to get onboard. Oh, and do I realize that the seat I’m about to take requires me to take responsibility for getting others off the plane in case of an emergency?
Look, what are the odds of that happening? For the sake of an earlier flight, I’ll take the risk of responsibility.
At which point, I’m urged to run down the gangway and get on – which I do. The attendant greets me with an “I like your mask,” and upon seeing my boarding pass, asks if I’m aware that… yes, yes I am. I know I shouldn’t appear to impatient, but I imagine that everyone already on board – including the flight crew – would like to get underway, so there’s no point in hesitating about my seat and what’s involved in sitting there now.
This is the sort of thing that you and Daniel would tease me about, that I’m too pessimistic for my own good – and look where it got me: out of breath, and almost out of luck. Well, you’ll remember what I always said about looking at life through the jade-colored lenses I wear: when you’re right, you’re prepared, and when you’re wrong, you’re not disappointed.
Until later, honey. Love you.