Ever seen one of those people in an airport that appears to have never stepped foot inside an airport before? That MAY almost seem like they were JUST dropped off by a spaceship and left to fend for themselves? That person may have had a scary resemblance to me yesterday.
Now, I HAVE actually travelled before. Quite successfully actually! I’ve been to Asia twice (transferring in the very complex Hong Kong Airport), the US numerous times and then domestic flights too many to count. So what the hell happened then? Allow me to explain.
I decided it would be best to go to the airport over three hours early for my flight, because my dad and his girlfriend were landing from their first flight and I thought it would be nice to catch up… behind customs. Sadly, their second (of three) flights was from Vancouver to Calgary… you don’t have to go behind customs to get to Calgary… as it exists right inside our very own country!
So, Pat dropped me off that three hours early and I went to the United Airlines check in pod and scanned my passport… nothing. Scanned my confirmation sheet… nothing. Typed in the confirmation number… nothing!!! Charging up to the ticket counter, I declare that I don’t mean to be a giant pain in the ass (actual quote) but that the scanner on the booth isn’t working, so could he please just check me in himself. As I was pulling out my passport, he declared that he ‘sees what the problem is’. I of course panic, thinking I’ve printed off the wrong piece of paper, or my passport is expired (totally rational, I know!). The ‘problem’ is that I am flying with US Airways, not United. Sounds the same, but is in fact, different! I grabbed my paper back from him and declared he should never speak of the situation and then trotted off to the US Airways check in where the woman obviously saw the stupidity in my eyes and proceeded to do the ‘self check in’ on the booth herself… while I stood there stupidly with my arms by my sides staring.
Once they print out the TWENTY FIVE DOLLAR receipt for your checked bag, you go up to the agent where they put the tag on your bag and then send you off to the next part… customs. But not before they shout ‘Ma’am! Ma’am! You have to take your bag WITH you!’ Oh! Haha… oops!
So with my VERY HEAVY bag, I troddle off to the left on my way to customs. It’s so not busy that no one else is anywhere near me… and that’s when I wind up at the dead end and a nice maintenance worker asks me what I”m doing. I say that I clearly have no idea what I”m doing but that I’d please like to go through customs. It’s the other way Ma’am. OkAY! I’m now sweating (from stupidity and also my bag is very VERY heavy!). I get through to the scan part where you dump all your belongings into the tray and unfortunately my alien brain struck again and I walked all the way down a ‘staff only’ hallway to yet another dead end. Once I got my bearings (but not my brain), I put all my belongings in the tray and moseey’d through the scanner… BEEEEEP! Ma’am, do you have a cell phone on you? Oh, why yes I do… in my pocket. So I had to go back through, put my iphone all by itself into a bin (lucky it was not busy at all!) and then go through the scanner again…BEEEEP! Oh, seriously! I have change in my pocket, I say. No, that’s not it, you’ve been randomly selected for secondary screening. If your phone hadn’t been in your pocket, you would have snuck through. EXCELLENT! Knowing that I am now frustrated, sweaty and not even remotely interested in a short, old woman touching me, I ask if I can please get in the xray box.
Xray box is not terrifying at all! I’ll let you know if I grow a third boob from the radiation, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay!
Since I was pretty sure I was done with customs (after all, ten people have looked at my passport and boarding card and at least one person has seen a blurred naked photo of me with my arms over my head). Sadly, even tho I had already put all my documents away, I was not done. I got chewed out by an American Customs Agent for not reading the sign. I told him I hadn’t been looking for a sign, since I thought I ws DONE! He informed me that the sign I didn’t see read :’Welcome to the United States of America. Please have all documention ready.’. Well, failed that one!
When I finally handed my declaration card in and was in the customs secure area, I felt like I’d run a marathon and been in a war. I was hot, I was sweaty and I was really really confused as to how I turned so dumb! Also, I must have been more endearingly dumb than annoyingly dumb because the attitude and stupidity that was dripping off me should have been more than enough to make me a ‘suspicious person’ and get me pulled into triplicate security where they strip searched me and demanded to know where I had left my brain!
I won’t bore you with more now, and there are no pictures yet, but today we played with cactus, played with yarn, played with the ukelale and had a nap… and drank beer! Soon up, bbq hamburgers and fingerling potatoes!