|Whacky hijinx ensue
||[Apr. 16th, 2005|01:55 pm]
I hate I Love Lucy. Despite my fandom for John Cusack I have refused to see Serendipity. And the party scene of Mean Girls almost made me turn off the TV last night. I simply have no tolerance for the "near miss" plotline, where Bad Things Happen because one person walks out the room looking for the other person just as they walk in - they stress me out, just watching them.
So imagine what it felt like yesterday to find myself smack in the middle of a real life near miss plotline.
Ferrett was flying to Chicago for the weekend Friday afternoon, and my 13-year-old daughter, Amy, was arriving from Boston yesterday evening around 7:15. She was flying into Akron, though - about an hour away - because I can get her a direct flight there, while Ferrett was flying out of the Cleveland airport. We devised a simple plan: I took the bus to work, and Ferrett would drive to the Rapid station and leave the car for me to pick up, after which I could simply drive down to get Amy. It's an effective way to avoid airport parking costs and the hassle of car shuttles. We've done it without a hitch numerous times before.
But never during those numerous times in the past were we dealing with having four drivers in the house sharing only two sets of keys. It wasn't until the end of the day, as I was on my way to the train, that I realized I had no keys, having left mine at home for Kristi and Josh.
Now, since Amy's flight wasn't arriving until 7:15, I had taken my own sweet time getting out of the office - I didn't want to bother with going home, but I certainly didn't want to get there really early. This meant, however, that by the time the awful revelation hit me I no longer had the option of just grabbing the commuter bus home, getting a ride to the train station from Kristi, and going. No, I was stuck with getting on the train.
All I needed to do was call Kristi and get her to come to the Rapid station. But when I reached into my purse for my phone, I didn't have it. I remembered then: Josh had borrowed it the evening before, and I'd forgotten to get it back from him.
This is about the time I started hearing my pulse in my ears.
It was getting late by this time. I headed into the basement of Tower Center to the train platforms, figuring that I could use the pay phone down there and call Kristi. Went through the turnstyles, and headed to the phone kiosk, quarters in hand.
You know those movie moments when the heroine thinks she's found safety, only to have it go utterly wrong? That gut-wrenching anguish? It's even worse in real life. The phone kiosk was an empty, desolate shell, the phone removed (because no one uses payphones anymore). I gaped at it, nauseated. But the train was getting ready to leave, so I got on board.
I knew that all around me were people with cell phones. And what I needed to do was ask to borrow one. This was an emergency. Every minute that slipped by was one minute closer to Amy arriving in an airport with no one to greet her.
But I find it next to impossible to prevail upon strangers for a favor. When I was in college I was supposed to take the bus out to my Dad's house on a Sunday after work. What I didn't know until I got town was that the bus that went to their house only ran ever two hours on Sundays, and I had just missed one. Nothing was open, and I had a $10 bill and my bus pass, but not one single dime to make a phone call. It took me twenty minutes to work up the nerve to ask a man for a dime so I could call. (He gave it to me, but then followed me to the phone booth and listened in on my call.)
The train was on the way to the second Rapid stop before I managed to stammer out, "excuse me" to the woman sitting across from me. It all sounded so stupid: I have to pick up my car at the West Park station because my husband left it there when he flew out today, but I forgot my key, and my cell phone, and it's an emergency because I have to drive to Akron to pick up my daughter.
She said no. I couldn't borrow her phone because the battery was dead. The woman behind her, however, took mercy on me and handed me her phone. Trembling with gratitude, I dialed home.
No one answered.
I thought I was going to throw up.
Hoping against hope, I dialed my cell phone. Kristi picked up. I rushed through an explanation of what was going on, and she said she had wondered whether things were all right when she found my phone and my keys. I gave her directions for getting to Triskett station, which is easier to find from our house, and handed back the phone.
I got off at the station and started walking up toward the road. With each step, it seemed like it was taking Kristi much too long to get there. I began to worry that my directions were wrong, that she'd gotten lost, and she wouldn't be able to call me because I had no phone. I got all the way out the the road before she got there. We took off for the other station, making the requisite wrong turn, and finally found the car. By this time I was terrified that the battery would be dead or it would be out of gas, but other than the freeway near death experience of two cars trying to occupy the same lane directly in front of a fuel tanker, the drive was uneventful. I jogged through the doors of the airport just in time for the annoucenment that her flight had arrived. It turned out to be a situation comedy instead of a horror flick, after all.
But I think I aged 5 years.