4:40 a.m. Bleary-eyed, I get up and pad across the room. It’s time to roll.
5:25 a.m. Pearl and I depart for the airport. I’ve never parked at the airport anywhere except at the garage or in passenger pick-up, so I know I’m in for an adventure. It's very early, it's still dark out, I'm uncaffeinated and not 100% sure of where I'm going. Yep. Great way to start off.
5:50 a.m. After a second pass through the lot and backing up a few times, I finally find where I want to be and I spy a spot in covered parking. Score!
As I’m parking, I see a shuttle go through the lot. (I’m starting to have visions of Steve Martin in Planes, Tranes and Automobiles.) Drat. I wonder when the next one will come. The sign says that it will pick up in B6. I head that direction but nothing is in site. I stand there for at least 5 minutes. Then I see a shuttle at the end of the lot. Parked. I start walking toward it; it comes and picks me up.
6:15 a.m. I am in the security line which is starting to get a little full. I do the general disrobing, removing my shoes and suit jacket, pulling my laptop from its padded pouch. I pile everything into two bins and shepherd them along the conveyor and into the screener. I forget to remove my watch.
6:20 a.m. An alarm sounds as I pass under the screening doorway. The TSA dude scowls. “Are you wearing a hairclip?” he asks as he stares directly at one of the two clips holding my hair against the back of my head. I nod and ask if I have to take them out. I really don’t want to do this. My hair actually had cooperated and was laying quite nicely. I knew I would not be so lucky twice in the same day.
As I’m reaching up to unclip my hair, I glimpse the forgotten watch. Could it be my watch? I ask. “You can try it,” says Mr. TSA and another agent hands me a plastic bowl to lay it in. I walk through the doorway. No alarm sounds.
6:25 a.m. I snag my computer, my bag and shoes , my jacket off the conveyor. Everything is back in place and yet my watch still hasn’t been sent through. Can I have my watch back, please? Mr. TSA scowls again, then ignores me. I am quickly reminded of one of the many reasons why it is a pain in the a** to fly.
Apparently, Mr. TSA is due for a break or it’s his time to go home. Five minutes later, a different agent apologetically returns my watch. I slide it on and take four steps forward to find that I am AT my gate! I quickly spot one of my colleagues immersed in the morning paper.
The Dallas flight boards and departs on time and is uneventful. We even arrive early. Meetings are long but productive. About the only glitch of the day is an inability to connect to the Internet. So, all in all, a good day.
But Dallas had a very pleasant and unanticipated surprise for me. That's for another post though ...