Seinfeld story. We went to what the locals lovingly refer to as “The People’s Republic of Boulder” for our granddaughter’s going away party. The trip there was difficult, but I can laugh about the adventure. I believe the tale would be a good Seinfeld comedy sketch.
It began Thursday at 4 a.m. in our home in Mobile at sea level. We had a 6:15 flight.
With my bad left arm, just watching me try to put on compression socks is worth a laugh. Putting the socks on with two good hands was tough enough before I had my stroke. The task is very difficult now.
Jeny drove her car because she was going to come back to Mobile on Sunday and I was staying in Colorado. She planned to park near the terminal, but had to park far away. In her weakened state from chemo therapy, she was slow getting to the terminal only to find out the escalator was broken. Thankfully the elevator worked.
The flight from Mobile to Atlanta was in a bigger plane than usual. I did not have to check my carry-on plane-side. When we arrived in Atlanta, a wheelchair was there for Jeny, but with no one to push. Yours truly got to wheel my lovely bride to the next gate with her holding various bags. We probably looked like homeless people carrying all our possessions.
The Denver flight was a good flight, but when we landed the fun began in earnest.
We were early, so we waited for 20 minutes for the gate to clear. I needed to use the restroom the whole time. The seat belt sign and the delay meant no visit to the restroom on the plane. The delay was not fun for an old man and I got older by the minute.
Thankfully, when we debarked a very nice young man was available to push Jeny and free me to attend to business.
The transit train to the baggage claim was so full we had to wait three times before we could get on. It was a foreboding omen of the future.
When we got to baggage claim, our luggage was on the wrong carousel. The young man insisted they should be on Carousel 1. I got our bags off of Carousel 2 and showed him the name tags. He got us to the Avis bus.
AVIS. When the bus pulled into the lot, a line of at least 50 people was formed in the heat waiting for cars in the PREFERRED customer area.
Another 25 people were outside the regular customer area waiting for cars.
The registration line for regular customers was inside but was even longer.
So, this 78-year-old man
— with no water
— whose only food had been airplane snacks
— who was now at 5000 feet altitude
– who was trying to breathe through a mask that the authorities insisted and constantly reminded me had to cover my nose
stood in line for over an hour.
The whole time I enviously watched a food truck parked outside the window.
Thankfully Jeny found a couch, collapsed and waited.
When I finally got to a registration clerk, the man said he could get me a better car and I would not have to wait in the long line outside in the heat if I just came up with a little more cash. I did and he handed me the paper work and assured me a Ford Edge with AZ license plates would be waiting.
When he finished, I immediately went to Jeny gave her my bags to watch. I then turned to head for the food truck only to see it pulling away from the curb. I could have cried.
I went outside and looked for a silver Ford Edge with AZ tag. It was not there. I grabbed an employee and told her my situation. She said — it is a mess out here. I saw another Edge. She said – just take it. We did.
Wendys. The first place we saw to get food was a Wendy’s. We pulled in and gave our order. No car was in front of us, no car behind us—yet somehow when we opened the bag, they had given us the wrong order. We ate it anyway.
ADT. In the middle of all of this. Our housekeeper accidentally set off the house alarm. Several texts and phone calls helped but the problem was not completely solved until the next day.
I hope you can easily imagine the trip as a Seinfeld sketch.
Andrea. The trip was worth the travel troubles. Seeing the respect our granddaughter has from her faculty and friends was great. Seeing family and special friends was great. Seeing the mountains added to the joy. I am thankful for the time.
The joy of seeing friends and family strengthened Jeny for her second treatment. She had a rough second treatment, but two down and four to go. The hardest thing for Jeny is the inactivity.
Delta. After all of the negative experiences of the trip to Colorado, on the way home I had a positive travel experience I will never forget. In Atlanta the gate agent made an announcement. We were going to be flying in a smaller plane. Therefore, he would be giving us a red baggage tag for our bigger carry-on items. We would have to tag them and leave them in the jet-way and then pick them up in Mobile.
Putting a tag on my luggage is not as difficult as donning compression socks, but it is still a tough task for me. So, I went up to see him. I explained I had a stroke and would have a tough time accomplishing the task. I asked if he would do it. He said he could not do it ahead of time but he would take care of it when it was time for boarding.
He was a person of color and his exact words were “I’ll take care of you — boss man.” I said thank you and started to turn away. Then I paused, tried to smile through my mask and said, “I am not a boss man.”
He laughed with a big smile.
When it was my time to board, I put my bag up and he put the red tag on for me. Then he handed me a new boarding pass. He upgraded me to first class. It brought tears to my eyes.
I have hope.