Saturday, December 22, 2007

The airport shuttle driver and her GPS argued the whole drive. Whenever the GPS would tell her to turn right she would turn left, and the machine would wait a minute before announcing that it was recalculating the route. By the time we made it to the freeway, the little electronic voice had fallen petulantly silent. It didn't pipe up again until we had been stuck in traffic for a while, when it told us that we were approaching slow vehicles.

In the van we sat frustrated by the stop-and-go traffic and listened to the one-sided conversation of the dispatcher on the radio. "Are you completely lost or is your van not working? Help me out here." A long pause. "You're completely lost? Well can you read a street sign and tell me where you might be?" Pause. "Ok, who wants to go on a rescue mission?" Later, he advised the other drivers to avoid the interstate. "No one's getting anywhere, so good luck if you go that way." At this point the other passenger in the van and I spoke up. "He does know that we can hear him, right?"

After an hour and a half of hardly moving we passed what was left of an awful accident. A crumpled car with the top sheared off was being loaded on to a tow truck on the left side of the road. I felt a little foolish for worrying about missing my flight. It could have been worse, and it frequently is.

I did miss my flight, but a sympathetic ticket agent worked some magic and found another flight that involved running through the airport with my shoes untied. My connection in Charlotte was on the other side of the airport and, sleep deprived and tired of running, I found myself annoyed with the smugness of the airport and its rows of rocking chairs. Charlotte was mocking me and my rushing, the lack of time I had for rocking.

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