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Las Vegas: Day 1 | Airports And A Smelly Man.

I was dropped off at the airport. Alone. But not anxious. At first. Let’s be clear, it’s not being dropped off, saying goodbye, or dragging your luggage around that makes flying hard. It’s the walking into the airport. Questions like:

  1. Where should I print my ticket?

  2. What if I try to check in at the wrong spot and end up looking like an idiot?

  3. What if I go through security and they say, “No ma’am, we can’t let you through because you look nothing like your ID.”

  4. Worse, they say, “I’m sorry, we only accept passports as acceptable ID’s no matter where you are going.”

And if you get through security, your mind decides to take over again with a line of thought much more rational than the first:

  1. Me: Here I am, at Gate 22. Just where my ticket says I should be.”

  2. My Mind: Double check you might be blind or something and it’s not Gate 22.

  3. Me: No, self. Listen, I’m staring at the number. It’s a 22.

  4. My Mind: Are you sure the ticket is right?

  5. Me: Well… no, but—

  6. My Mind: You need to double check. You don’t want to get on a plane headed for New York when you want to go to Las Vegas.

  7. Me: Yes, Mind, you are so right. I will go double check with the lady up front.

You’d think the plane would be the scary part. No. Getting on the plane means I’ve made it. Three Small Facts about Planes:

  1. It is more likely that my boyfriend would kill me than I’d die in a plane crash.

  2. It is far more likely for me to be in a bank robbery than to die in a plane crash.

  3. It is even more likely that I will be in a car accident and die than be in a plane crash.

BONUS FACT: It is more likely for all three of these things to happen than for me to be in a plane crash.

So, no, my mind is not nervous over these things because there are much more worrisome things to think about. Example: I was forced to check my bag. I think the whole thing was a little bias. Why? Because all of boarding Group 4 had to check their bags. They didn’t bother asking Group 1 and Group 2. There was plenty of room for them, but not all of Group 3 and certainly not Group 4. So, I needed to be concerned over things like: How was I going to get my bag back? What if it got lost? What if I didn’t have underwear for the next 5 days?

However, the layover is a whole other problem. Okay, so I’m sitting on the flight and enjoying myself until I feel the need to double check the time with my ticket for the layover. This is when I realize it is 7:40 and we have another hour until we land. Okay fine. Until, I look at the ticket for my layover and see it leaves at 7:53. Okay. Breathe. Not a big deal. Small problem. YES. BIG. PROBLEM. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? I AM GOING TO BE SPENDING THE NIGHT IN THE AIRPORT. I’LL PROBABLY NEVER MAKE IT TO LAS VEGAS. OH CRAP. I’M GOING TO GET LOST. I’M GOING TO BE LOST AND ALONE AND PROBABLY LIVE THE REST OF MY LIFE IN THAT AIRPORT. OKAY. THIS IS THE WORST POSSIBLE—

Wait. And that, my dear friends, was the voice of reason. I wish it was a small, tender voice. Maybe yours is. But mine, no. It’s kind of a shout. Anyways… Wait. There was a time change. Now my earlier fear had come true. I am an idiot.

The rest of the flight went over without any more heart attacks. I unboarded the plane in San Francisco, California. The airport was small. Cute even. I smiled because this was going to be a breeze. I pulled out my ticket to find my gate. It read: No Gate Assigned Yet. What? Seriously? Three hours ago, this plane didn’t have a designated spot of arrival? Okay, great. So, I headed up to one of the giant screens that list flights and where their gate was. Small Problem: Not only could I not find my flight, I also couldn’t read the information fast enough to see it before it flipped to another flight. Okay. It was fine. There was all of five gates in the airport, I could just look and find where I needed to be. Several minutes later, I still could not find it. Fine. I would resort to asking for help.

Turned out, I needed to be at Gate 82. It was about a mile walk away from the gate where I currently stood. The airport wasn’t looking so cute and tiny anymore. It was actually ridiculously huge. 20 minutes from the time I needed to be at the gate, I headed off. Took me a while, but I made it with a few minutes to grab some yogurt. I wasn’t sure I was at the right place. So, I stood there. Looking around like a freshman on her first day of high school. That’s when God called my name from above. Okay. Well, it wasn’t actually God. It was the speaker above me. A woman at the front desk. But it was kind of a God thing because she conveniently called my name at a moment I most needed to be seen. She just wanted to give me a different seat.

  1. Woman: Please, I need to put a family together.”

  2. Me: Of course.

After getting a new ticket, I got in line. This time, I was in group 2. Which was fine except that I wish I’d been in group 2 in the first flight and been able to load my luggage. But whatever. The two guys behind me had a conversation about, you know, Vegas. It went something like this:

  1. Dude 1: If you play like that at a Casino everyone is going to hate you’re a**.

  2. Dude 2: I don’t really care if I’m winning.

Next person I saw was a very sick looking Asian. His eyes all puffy and looking as if he had a fever. I was disgusted for a second because I was going to have to breath his air circulated over and over for the next 2 hours. But, I quickly recovered because I remembered that I was bringing my cold turned sinus infection, turned upper respiratory infection with me on the plane as well. He’d have to breath my air just as much as I’d breath his. Fair is fair. We boarded the plane and I knew I had a middle seat. Please, Lord, send me two women to sit on either side of me was my prayer. The Lord did not giveth. No. The first man to walk up was long haired, carrying a hello kitty bag complete with an array of colorful travel bags. He was a chunky, smelly, old guy. And by smelly, I mean, due to the whole cold turned sinus infection, turned upper respiratory infection, I couldn’t smell much, but I could smell this man. Usually, you can get away from a bad smell. Not a plane. Nope. You’re stuck. And you can’t say, “Hi flight attendant, give me a new seat,” without being rude and inconsiderate. So, I sat there, for over two hours, and tried not to smell too hard. My other neighbor: Also, a man. This one was normalish. I think. I’m not sure. All I know is he had a weird amount of flower pictures on his phone that he kept looking at and two little girls (who I guess are his daughters but no wife because there was no ring).

Otherwise, an uneventful flight. I finished my book and watched out the window as we descended down. So beautiful. The lights glittered against the earth and I could have almost convinced myself I was staring down at the sky. We unboarded (Yes, I know it’s not a word) and I headed through the airport. Thank goodness for a father who texted me to take the tram to my baggage claim or I would have been a poor lost puppy. Not ten minutes later, I was running into my daddy’s arms. What a wonderful place to end my day. On an adventure and in the arms of the man who has protected me since before I was born. Here’s to him and to the rest of this week spent in Las Vegas.

Gracie and Dad


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