Friday, December 16, 2011

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Given my bad luck this last week, I knew I was tempting fate by flying from South Bend to Detroit to Minneapolis to see my niece dance in the Nutcracker. But, I thought my luck has to change some time, well, not yet. We start our trip by leaving our GPS in the car at the South Bend Regional Airport. This means that for the rest of my trip, I will be relying on a combination of celestial navigation and help from my father and 7 year old. My father proudly declares that the only class he almost flunked was, in fact, celestial navigation. Since he went to school with Christopher Columbus and Magellan, I wonder why he didn't just copy off their work.......

Getting my chatty and inquisitive 7 year old anywhere is always an adventure. We check in at the airport. I show my ID. She introduced herself as Sara Grace Velasco, then gave her student ID. For Sara, that qualifies as valid identification. Onto security. I'm pretty sure she doesn't have an explosive or firearm on her so I think we are safe. She decides to ask all sorts of questions about their procedures and policies. FYI- she thinks the shoes off rule is asinine. Then she asked if her toenail polish was OK. Armed with snacks, we hunker down to wait for our flight. She notices some activity out the window and sees people with 'light sabers'. I tell her that the ground crew use those to guide the planes in. She asks if she can go out and help. I'm telling you, the gate attendant seriously considered it for a second. As my luck would have it, our 30 minute flight from South Bend to Detroit was 30 minutes late. We run the length of the airport to make our connecting flight and meet my dad, the most insanely prompt being on the planet. We see the plane still at the gate. Sara tackles my dad and I think life is good. Nope, they "closed the door". No flight for us. Ummm, excuse me. We are late because of your airline. The plane is still there. Put us on the plane. Nope. My father, my daughter and I all handle it with the same about of grace, maturity and stoicism. None at all. I feed Sara a Happy Meal to kill time at the airport. This involves explaining to my dad that when you order fast food, you do most of the work yourself. You pick up your food, clear your food and get your own drink. The look on his face when I handed him an empty cup was priceless. He is NOT part of 6347 billion served. In reality, they should say "6347 billion self-served". I digress. We hope and pray that we get on the next flight. Miraculously, we do. After locking the flight's captain in the bathroom (accidently), she is invited to hunker down in his seat, wear his hat and get a crash course in flying. Of course, all 3 of us are in middle seats. Sara is thrilled because now she has 2 older men doing her bidding and being a truly captive audience for the flight's duration. They have fetched her drinks, peanuts, magazines, etc. She may be landing the plane shortly. I'll keep you posted after she safely lands this bird.

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