March Slice of Life No. 25.
Entry from my Travel Journal.
Sitting at the Gate 18A … will board my flight shortly.
It’s raining… and I’m hoping weather doesn’t delay my flight. I hate getting into a place late at night… heading to ELP for a workshop tomorrow. But… I’m joining Texans in thanking God for rain. They’re in such a drought!
Had a great three days with DISD. Wrapped up this afternoon’s session and packed my workshop bags. I had scheduled a limo to pick me up at the school for my return to DFW. Much easier than someone from the district spending a couple hours making a round trip during heavy traffic time. Easier than having a rental — what with navigating late afternoon traffic after a long day, and stopping to fill a tank, and doing return rental paperwork, and loading and unloading my luggage, and taking the shuttle from car return location to airport terminal… Well, I prefer the door to door service… and it saves over an hour in time so I can get a meal before I fly.
It is past time for the limo to arrive. The principal offers to wait with me. Finally my phone rings. It is the driver. He can’t find the school. How does one not find a school in a fairly small town… what with GPS? I try to explain. But his English is limited and heavy with accent. K__, the principal, takes my phone and tries to explain. Finally K__ asks him where he is and tells him to stay put… wait for us to meet him there. K__ then packs me into his pickup and takes me to meet the limo. That should have been a BIG warning.
For about 50 minutes I relax in the back seat, thankful there are no snarls in traffic. Thinking about what I want to eat for supper … there are really some decent choices at DFW and I will have time before departure.
As we approach the airport area, I realize we are not ready for an exit, whipping along at about 65 miles an hour. I’ve driven in and out of this airport many times so in general I recognize the area even though there is a lot of road construction now. So … I think there must be another way the driver knows to avoid all this congestion and construction…
That is…. until I see a giant orange sign (extra large and orange because of all the construction) with the words “DFW EXIT NOW” and I realize we have just driven onto an overpass and are heading due north — the absolute wrong way!
With the airport behind and a huge traffic snarl ahead, I gasp, “THAT WAS OUR EXIT!”
This guy doesn’t have a clue! I’m going to miss my flight! Forget about supper. Where does he think he’s headed? Can he read English? Remember, he couldn’t find the school in a small town… even with the address. I frantically grab my iPhone and scoot forward to the edge of my seat.
I am completely engaged in traffic, signs, detours, and my iPhone GPS. Thankfully he listens to me and he understands my basic directions: “Exit NOW.” “Turn Left.” And I’m leaning over the seat back and gesturing to clarify directions. I get us turned around and headed south, toward the airport. Two more near misses on exits and entrances and we finally are creeping up the ramp to Terminal A Departures.
I have enough time to check bags, navigate TSA, and walk to my gate. But not enough time for supper. I’m not sure I can eat with all the adrenaline rush I’ve had.
So here I sit… unwinding, making these notes, eating a granola bar, watching passengers deplane the craft that I will shortly board.
Dad always told me, “Pays to pay attention!”