Yesterday began at 4:40 a.m. in a Residence Inn in Miramar, Florida. Gary awoke with a start because the alarm on his phone was supposed to go off at 4:30, but in his exhaustion the night before, he set it for 4:30 p.m. Fortunately he opened his eyes only ten minutes later than the alarm. Our flight was at 6:45 a.m. out of Fort Lauderdale. We were off to the races!
Making things more complicated for me was that I had either a bad cold (with clogged ears, a cough and very full sinuses) or maybe it was an actual infection that needed antibiotics. Either way, with a morning of flying ahead of me, I slugged some Robitussin, took a Sudafed and ran around the room gathering the last of my things. Fortunately, I had packed the night before.
Traveling is stressful enough without adding the anxiety of being late. But the roads were nearly empty at that early hour on Easter Sunday. There were plenty of people at the airport, though. But, we had our boarding passes, we weren’t checking luggage and we had TSA-Pre, which has turned out to be a good investment. It cost $85 (for five years) and while sometimes it doesn’t make a difference, in some airports there either isn’t a separate line or it doesn’t operate at all hours, it has saved us a lot of time in many cases. Yesterday morning it was a huge help. One less line to stand in.
We got on the plane, stowed our luggage and settled in. I had all my supplies – tissues, napkins for when the tissues ran out, cough drops, a bottle of water, more cough medicine and decongestant. I was assigned a middle seat on a full flight. Gary had the middle seat across the aisle. This was less than optimal. No one likes sitting next to someone sneezing, coughing and blowing their nose. I was going to be ‘that person,’ on this flight. I sat, determined to keep all secretions to myself. My nose and throat had other plans.
We took off and that wasn’t too bad. But then the tickle in my throat started. “I will not cough,” I told myself. To no avail. I coughed. I used my elbow, I used napkins, I took cough drops, I chewed gum, I drank copious amounts of water. The people next to me carefully avoided eye contact. The woman to my left, next to the window, apparently came prepared – she had her hoodie covering her face and some kind of blanket that she draped over her entire self. I never actually saw her face – which was fine with me.
About half way through the flight to Atlanta things calmed down. I stopped coughing. Of course, then there was the descent. I didn’t start coughing again, but I felt like I was underwater. All sounds traveled from a great distance and were muffled. But, I could still hear, so that was good.
We landed in Atlanta with a tight turnaround for the second leg to Albany. We took the in-airport-train to concourse C and got to the gate just as they were beginning boarding. Gary ran into a little market conveniently located just next to the gate and picked up yogurt and banana for each of us and another bottle of water for me. Did I mention it was Passover? Gary observes the dietary restrictions carefully, I observe them generally. In this case, I would have gone for the bagel, justifying it as an emergency and God would understand. Gary didn’t cut himself that much slack. A yogurt and banana would do just fine.
We got on the next flight and, miracle of miracles, we were seated next to each other. And, the flight wasn’t full, so the third seat in our aisle was empty! I could cough with impunity! No, I couldn’t, I knew better, but at least I wouldn’t feel quite as self-conscious about it.
As it turned out, I didn’t have any coughing fits. I did go through every tissue and napkin I could find, and I had to hold my ears while we descended (somehow that made it less painful), but we arrived in Albany earlier than scheduled.
I told Gary I couldn’t wait to get home and take a hot shower, I felt like a giant germ. He told me I was a very cute germ. Though his voice had to swim through the congestion in my head, I still could hear him – so that was a positive.
Oh, and did I mention I lost my phone? I love going to Florida!
Full disclosure: This was not the blog piece I planned for today, but I thought I’d share my wonderful travel experience with you (and you didn’t even have to be exposed to my germs!). Also, I actually lost the phone in Boston, not Florida. But, I really like Boston, so I’ll take literary license and add it to my list of grievances against the sunshine state.