Gosh traveling is so darn…what’s the word I’m looking for?

So when they brought the baby into the “quiet room” I had to leave. I’m pretty sure they thought it was like the “crying room” at the back of church. But actually it was not. It is for people who don’t want to listen to people on their cell phones, or crying babies. The three ladies who had been there for a while and I got up and left. I wasn’t happy about it but they were all Well I never…

What a damn day. This post will seem long but consider that you are not on a bus, a plane or waiting for one.

So I took the Coach USA bus to O’Hare. I left an hour earlier than I felt I’d needed to, from the downtown “Intermodal” train station and things looked pretty good to go. As we approached our second pick up spot at General Mitchell “International” Airport an elderly woman swerved across a lane of orange cones apparently unaware that there was a bus charging down the lane she was merging into and we hit her. I don’t think she was injured. She got out of her car and wandered around. The bus driver got out and asked if she was OK, She was. Her car was not. There were 4 passengers in the bus. We barely felt a bump. But one woman claimed that she was injured. She was actually taking the bus to O’Hare to work. They called an ambulance. The effect of this of course, was that we had to wait for an ambulance. Coach USA had to send someone to verify if blah blah blah I don’t care. These buses leave every hour. One would imagine that the next bus could just swing by and pick us up but what Coach USA, in their wisdom, decided to do was let that bus leave the Intermodal station and go directly to O’Hare while they sent a replacement bus to pick us us and then we proceeded to pick up all the remaining riders at the next 3 stops even if we were already over an hour late.

A stop at Mitchell “International” Airport was first, where that doofus John Gurda got on (I will say that at least he’d already purchased his ticket whereas pretty much every other person bought their ticket as they got on which is, you know, TIME CONSUMING). Then another stop and then yet another! They could have sent us directly to O’Hare and let the later bus pick everyone up but instead we did the heavy lifting. I had left Milwaukee with enough time to make my flight with perhaps a brief stop in the Business Class Lounge (tooth sucking noise) and now here we were in Chicago rush hour traffic and there was a definite possibility that I was going to miss my flight. Boarding time was 4:40. The surly bus driver who was extremely inconvenienced by this unexpected extra drive (the bus driver who drove over the old lady had to stay with her bus, like the captain of the ship apparently) dumped us off at terminal 3 at 4:20. TWO HOURS LATE. I had an odd emotional mix of wanting to get on my flight, and also stay on the bus back to Coach USA and bang a cast iron pan on the desk of the person who makes idiotic decisions like that. Cast iron is good for some things.

I made it to the gate fully 20 minutes after boarding began but also 20 minutes before departure. Sweating and terrified. Oddly boarding had not begun. The flight was delayed. Ahahaha. And then delayed again. Then they announced that those of us with lounge privileges could go to the lounge. On the one hand; Yea! on the other; Goddamit to hell.

So this is where the quiet room comes in. I went to the lounge sitting briefly in the quiet room and then removed myself and sat with the other hapless goofballs. Two hours later we were called to board. But then we sat on the plane for another hour. My estimated arrival at Heathrow (connecting flight to Berlin) was now 8. Flight to Berlin left at 7:45. I then received a text telling me that I had been rebooked. I felt a little better. As we sat and sat on the plane, the face of some doofus with insane hair staring at me from the screen in front of me the minutes ticked away and my ability to imagine myself getting to the connecting flight slipping away as well.

When I arrived at Heathrow I did have 20 minutes to catch my flight but getting from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 was harder than navigating downtown Waukesha and part of it in a bus in a black tunnel. When I finally made it to the desk of someone who could help (I did not have a boarding pass, how could I? I was on the plane when I was notified of the change and they do not use e-tickets…YOU MUST HAVE A PRINTED BOARDING PASS). “Where’s your boarding pass?” The not terrifically helpful lady at the desk asked me. “I don’t have one.” I responded sweetly. “How did you get in here?!?” She asked me in a less helpful tone. She took my information and said ominously, “Well you’re not getting on that one, I can tell you that.”

Eventually and with less drama, aside from the peas, I did make it to Tegel, the fun-sounding airport in Berlin. Tegel is about the size of a McDonalds but not as efficient. I could see The Royal Indian Mounted Police waiting outside the luggage area. In fact I could practically touch the plane, the luggage carousel, and him all while standing in one spot. But somehow, despite the fact that I watched the luggage come off a plane so close to me that I could read the brand label on my suitcase, it did not appear for 45 minutes.

But then it did and I was free to go. Tearful reunion followed.

Paramedics aiding the uninjured woman who wanted to get out of going to work.

Getting through security when my flight has started boarding 5 minutes ago. A woman in front of

me waved happily to a woman far behind me and I had the sense that she was going to invite her

up in which case that cast iron pan was coming out. But that didn’t happen.

Other hapless goofballs. Hair-pie-boy staring at me for an hour.

What marketing person thought this was a good image for American Airlines?

Lunch on the British Airways flight. I was not hungry. He did not eat his peas.

The plane. The carousel. There is only one in Berlin.

Law enforcement agent waiting, unmounted, for me.

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