Sunday, August 11, 2013

Just One More Time Around . . .

I am not one to arrive early for anything.  On time or a minute late; that is more my style.   So I knew things were too good to be true when my bag was already packed for my 9:20 am flight the night before my departure.

It should not have come as a surprise when I slowly awoke to my alarm 45 minutes after it started playing.  


I wanted to be leaving for the airport in 15 minutes and I am just waking up now?  

"It's OK it's OK," I told myself; "You are already packed, You can still do this."

So I powered through my morning routine and called for the Black Car service with my smart phone App.

Technology has advanced to the point that I can "drop a pin" on the image of a map on my cell phone to indicate where and when I want to be picked up.  Despite the fact that I am fairly confident on where the door of my condo is located, for some reason the Black Car service always shows up a block away on the other side of the street. 

"Mr. Just Jon, your car service is here.  Where are you?" the driver said upon calling my cell phone.

"I am standing where I dropped the pin on the map.  Where are you?"

"Well Sir, the GPS told me to make a right turn."

"Is the pin at a right turn?"


"Turn around and cross the street.  I am standing outside...where the pin was dropped."

I have gotten quite used to having this same conversation with every driver that has come to pick me up.

Now let the record state that I live REALLY close to the airport.  I am talking super convenient.  So when the Black Car service driver asked what time my flight was (2 hours from the point of his arrival) his response was, " Oh you are going to get there way early.  Plenty of time!"

Let's just say I have made this trip enough times to know that early morning long distance flights for all airlines tend to all depart at similar times which makes checking in and getting through security a beast. 

"You think?"  I said.  "I don't know.  I have seen it pretty crowded at this time."

"No, you are good.  I mean, I guess it is good you are getting their early because there is some fog."

"Wouldn't that mean a delay if there is fog," I thought to myself.

The driver then proceeded to tell me repeatedly as he filled out paper work that the Black Car Services' yard is just five minutes from my condo.  

"I mean you are right there," he said.

"Well if you are only five minutes away why did it take you twelve minutes to get here?" was the question running through my head.  And what was with this paperwork?  The beauty of this service in the past is that everything is pre-arranged in the App.  No paperwork.  Let's cut the chit chat and get this car rolling dude, or my "early arrival" you seem so concerned with will be practically non-existent.

"Is this paperwork thing new?" I asked.

"Oh, we have been doing it a couple of months.  Ever since the airport started cracking down on the unlicensed ride share drivers," he said.

"Yes, I was just reading about that.  I thought your Company's "cheaper" service "X" is now not allowed to go to the airport," I asked.

"Oh, I don't know about that.  I don't drive an "X" car.  I mean that is what they start you out on.  The rookies.  Like a training car.  I haven't done that in over a year," he said in an almost bragging tone.

We finally got on the road and made it to the airport with no trouble.  As we entered the departure level I saw my airline listed on the first sign.  And then I saw my airline disappear as my driver kept going. 

"Ummm...I think you just passed my airline," I said.

"No, your airline is in Terminal 2."

"Uh, well, I am pretty sure we passed it.  But if you think it is in Terminal 2, we shall see."

As we cleared Terminal 1...2...and 3; I think it was time for my driver to admit defeat and circle back around.

"Oh man they are going to think I am crazy. It costs $3 every time we go around."

We started the loop back around to Terminal 1 when I thought to myself, "This fool just took the wrong ramp.  We are now on the Arrivals level!"

"Uh...I think we are on the wrong level," I said.

"Oh man, I am so sorry! I will get you there now.  I know exactly where it is.  This is going to cost me another $3, but I know it is the first Terminal.  Don't worry."

Frankly, I wasn't worried.  I wasn't even mad.  This was down right funny.

We looped back around for another $3 and as we approached the departures level I said, "As we come out of the tunnel; it will be the first stop on the right."  

My driver began reading the signs.  He read off every airline but the one I wanted.

I interjected, "Not that sign.  The smaller sign to the right.  Do you see it?"

"Oh yeah.  There it is," he said.

After pulling up to the curb and getting out of the vehicle; I thanked my driver and wished him a good day. I thought again about how he said only the "rookie" drivers operate "X" cars.  Three attempts at finding my airline seemed like a pretty rookie move to me.

"I don't know man, after this rough start?" he said.

"Dude, you just got to shake it off," I said as I turned and walked through the sliding glass doors of the terminal.  "You just got to shake it off."

I've got a flight to catch!