Presumably you are sitting down whilst reading this, but if you’re not you’d better take a seat. I’m about to reveal something you may not know. I’m not the sort of person who likes crowds because well… it’s a patience thing. And I, um, lack some patience. Now I realize this is a life lesson I’m doomed to repeat over and over again until I learn it. The thing is, I don’t have time to learn patience. No, you have to trust me here. The lesson always arrives when I’m in a hurry and have a lot of things to do.
So, this brings me to my point. I don’t like crowds. I arrive at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport – the busiest airport in the world on the eve of Good Friday [aka as Spring Break). I allow plenty of time (1 because I was tired of sitting in a meeting room and 2, that’s just how I roll). There was no line to check in my bag (which I could carry on but choose not to). I make my way downstairs to find an enormous crowd of people waiting for the train. So I wait. And wait. And wait. Something doesn’t feel right as the crowd becomes bigger and starts imposing on my personal space. Then the announcement comes “the trains are temporarily delayed. You may want to use the moving walkways.” A few people turn around and head down the narrow passageway that leads to the A, B, C, D and E terminals. (Wanna guess which one I was headed to? No – not E but D.) Being an adventurous spirit (sounds better than impatient, doesn’t it), I decide to walk to my terminal. I’ve got plenty of time. Unfortunately for me, once I was committed it got rather ugly. Crowded, hot, full of people (gasp!) and oodles of luggage, purses, backpacks, canes, wheelchairs, etc. making maneuvering through the hallway very difficult. At first, I tried the moving sidewalks. Not really ideal because you can easily get trapped between large people, bags, children and standers. After walking into a flight attendant’s luggage several times, I decided to take my chances in the middle where people where walking, jogging, running or standing. There were works of art scattered so even the times I thought I found a path through the masses, I would be running into a cement kids playing lead frog or some such statue. There were times we had the advantage – those of us heading towards the terminals, but more often than not, it was the arriving passengers who had the upper hand pushing the rest of us up against the wall as they plowed through. At every train stop, there would be people standing and pointing. Waiting for a train that was not coming (the announcement eventually changed from “temporarily delayed” and you “may” want to take the moving sidewalks to “the trains are not working, please use the moving sidewalks.” Every now and again, a maintenance person would buzz by on a Segway, lights flashing and alarms ringing. Makes me wonder how often this might happen. I was hit, bumped, pushed and run over. I’m not sure how far it is but I’m guessing it was 5 miles because it took me over an hour. (Okay, I’m exaggerating but it did feel like a long walk.) Every time I thought I would get ahead, someone else would fill the hole and I would be looking for another opening to jump a head a person or two. Like I said, I don’t like crowds. It might be because I’m short but probably more because I’m just not patient with pokey people.
It was a long, long walk. Especially for someone with a bad hip – I have no doubt I will regret this tomorrow if not sooner. I was thrilled to emerge out of the dark, hot thoroughfare below the tarmac and into terminal D. I already knew that my first stop would be Starbucks. As Murphy would have it no other way, the lounge and my gate were at D10 and the Starbucks was at D30. I wouldn’t want it any other way, really I wouldn’t.
And Murphy wasn’t finished with me. The espresso machine was broken. Really? Does anything at this airport work today? So I was stuck without my extra shots but did get my Frappuccino. Now I’m sitting in the lounge wondering what else Murphy might have in store for me today. Hopefully, he has moved on to bigger and better people than me.