To the airport! And traffic! And the airport! Eventually!

We were going on vacation. Or so we thought. We were due to fly out of JFK, one of the New York airports. I flew in to the other one, Laguardia, last night. That place is a two hour traffic disaster and no amount of renovation is going to help. But they’re trying. Tonight, though, we had a plane to catch at JFK. Or so we thought.

We had dinner with my in-laws, who took us to the airport, all in good time and according to the carefully laid out travel schedule we had established based on gravitational variation reports, precise distance surveys, meteorological data and a consultation with experts at both Caltech and NASCAR.

And then we hit the traffic. It seems everyone had somewhere to go. And they were all in our way. And we were somehow suddenly cutting it close. Delta, you see, suggests you arrive up to three hours early for an international flight. And by the time you’ve read that sentence we were already flirting with that “Get there an hour early” time. And then there was another bridge and more traffic and we discovered that the check-in counter closes an hour before international flights.

So we pulled into the crowded space at JFK and we were exactly 62 minutes before our flight. At this point we still had to navigate the big sweeping curve into the terminal, and then the double-parked people who don’t understand that our trip is perhaps more important than theirs.

“Ready to run?” The Yankee asked. She had a little smile that was borne of panic, but it looked mischievous. I was ready to run, but first we had to hit the desk and check our bags. The skycaps were there, and they were super. We had to rearrange a few bags for weight purposes. KLF, a Delta-partner, apparently, has limits on how heavy your carryon bag can be. Like this giant jet is going to care whether my jeans are in small roller in the cabin or in the storage component below.

With that sorted there was security. Security.

The Yankee said to a TSA agent, “We have 60 minutes to get to our plane. Is there anything you can do to help us?”

The TSA agent heard this: “”We have 16 minutes to get to our plane. Is there anything you can do to help us?”

She did help us, which was our second great break. We cut through two entire lines. We somehow got involved in a power play with an angry woman emboldened by the power of her blue shirt and aluminum badge who had the hefty responsibility of carding passengers. This seemed to take too long. We got through the metal detectors. My bags got checked. That seemed to take too long.

And then, finally deemed safe in the eyes of American security theater, we dashed down the terminal … where our plane was just about to board. We were flying out of the country and we arrived just in time to tell everyone we actually caught the plane and got settled in to take this picture:


We are going on vacation. We’re flying all night, which means I’ll be watching movies all night and we’ll be jetlagged and vacationing tomorrow. It will be a great trip, and we’ll laugh at this airport business somewhere along the way.

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