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like bad haircuts, embarrassment is good for the soul

December 15, 2008

On the plane headed back to SF after a weekend on island.  Chloe, her boyfriend Andy, and I flew in to surprise her mom on the occasion of her 50th birthday.  The tickets were relatively cheap, and our work habits leave us with a little disposable income, although Chloe might not agree.  

Of course we almost wasted all of that disposable income by nearly missing our 6:30 flight out of Oakland on Friday evening.  Andy had kindly decided to pick us up from our respective j-o-b-s and drive us to the airport, and this was all fine and good until things started to look bleak in the gridlock on 80.  After about 45 seconds of staring angrily at break lights and feeling the lurch of stop and go traffic Chloe and I were on our third panic attacks, respectively.  I urged Andy to please merge into any lane besides this one where we were behind an incredibly slow Subaru.  At this point I was actually sliding into conspiracy theories wondering whether Andy might want to miss the plane.  But then in a mood shift similar to someone who is manic-depressive and also on crack I asked them to join me in a “We are going to make our flight!” cheer.  They did not.  But I think this might have been because Chloe was actually in the back seat asking God for help.  Slowly, things began to open up soon we were cruising along at almost 40 mph.  

“If we get there in the next 15 minutes we will be fine,” Chloe said emphatically, urging us to believe.  I agreed adding that since we were parking at the airport it wouldn’t take long once we got there to run to our gate.  At this point Andy decided to let the other shoe, drop, “We’re actually parking at a remote lot.  Offsite, you know?”  The look on his face as he said this made it clear that he knew that his moments as Chloe’s boyfriend, and as a living being on this earth were rapidly disappearing.  

“What does that mean, ‘remote’?” we cried.  

“It’s pretty close.  I just wanted to tell you guys now so you would be prepared.  You know, mentally.”

We were not prepared.  Within moments I was on the phone with my mom informing her that we were most likely going to miss our flight, as well as actually uttering phrases like, “We have a ‘remote lot’ situation here.”  I said this with the grim nobility of a pilot who has just lost an engine.  Yes, I had passed into full on conniption, and I’m sad to say that no, this is not the first time. The ferry will always bring me here as will stoplights, unreturned phone calls, and anything else over which I do not have control, i.e. almost everything.  My dad has told me many times that if I don’t stop wishing on traffic lights and promising my unborn children for just one more green, I am going to die of a heart attack before I’m thirty.  Well, answer me this, what is a heart attack compared to missing the 11 o’clock sailing of the Kittitas?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  

And yes we made our flight.  As soon as is became clear that this would be the case Chloe sidled humbly up to Andy bestowing upon him her most winning smile asked sweetly, “You still love me right?”  and he kind of looked at her like she was insane and just a little bit pathetic and proceeded to walk ahead of us all the way to the gate, while we hung back like admonished adolescents assuring each other that there had been a legitimate danger that we would miss our flight, and that any normal person would have reacted the same way we did; I mean, a remote lot, really?  But we were also just a little bit embarrassed because part of us knew that as normal as this may have been it was not necessarily okay.

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