Proof of being in a small town. Even if it is your state capital:
Last night myself, my brother, my grandmother, a best friend and her Mom all drove up to Tallahassee. There were two goals to this trip: 1. To drop me at a hotel crazy close to the airport and 2. To eat at the Cracker Barrel. As there is not a Cracker Barrel, nor the ability to make an international flight connection for 150 miles, it was definitely necessary that this trip be made by a number of persons. After shoveling in fried everything covered in white gravy, biscuits, and cornbread I waddled my way into the very lovely Hotel Duval and passed into dreamland. I awoke determined to make this trip home as peaceful as possible. The hotel provided a shuttle and I hopped aboard, headed to the Tallahassee Regional Airport, cultural mecca of Northern Florida. This flight was designed to get me to Miami International Airport, home of forced Spanish language education.
I was in line behind two other people. One who continuously talked into space (I will assume she was on the phone) and another with a bright orange sweater and a neatly packed bag. I had managed to at least check in to the international portion of the flight plan, but had no reservation for this flight readily available. The gentleman at the counter got me sorted and settled and he handed me my tickets, validated my bag weight, and sent me on my way.
Seeing that the boarding wouldn’t begin for a bit I browsed the only gift shop outside of the security checkpoint and then made my way up to get unpacked and scanned.
“Hey,” said the gentleman at the security check point number one, “You’re the one going to London, right?”
I responded,”Yes, of course.” I could feel the eyes of the crowd ahead in line as they swiveled to take note of me. I was a bit startled that this security guy would know, but then I realized I had handed him my passport – the marker of an international traveler.
“Do you have your onward travel ticket?” he asked.
I checked my little envelope. “No, sir, I do not.”
“Well, that lady you see back there, the one who is jogging? She’s got your ticket and she’s taking it back to the American Airlines desk.”
Oh. So the lady with the bright jacket and the neat bag had gotten my international flight ticket. Realizing what had happened, she was running it back to the desk so that I wouldn’t be missing it. Really. She was doing this.
To put everything in perspective it is a looooong hallway that you tread to reach the security checkpoint. Between that there isn’t much, and so the people in the security line had – for the most part – a bit of entertainment while they waited in line.
I jogged down to meet the lady in the bright orange jacket. “Oh sweetheart,” she announced in blaring southern accent, “I just went and gave that ticket to the desk agent. Just go on back there and grab it.”
“Okay! Thank you!” and I jogged around the corner to be greeted by a completely empty desk and a confused bag claim attendant. Eventually the bag claim attendant found the desk attendant and all was attended to. I had my onward ticket.
The security line was moving at a blisteringly slow place, so by the time I returned to the checkpoint I had several words of encouragement from people in line. Everything from “It’s so nice the ticket was found” to “Wow, London!” We crawled our way through security, as people’s gel-like devices were causing issues. I was dumped right into the gate, and as I boarded the plane people were asking me about London, what was taking me there, and were in awe of my living in Oxford.
In short, I made about 50+ friends at the Tallahassee Regional Airport, and all of them are real glad I came home and live in such a nice place in England.
Only in a small town would this be possible.
So now I’m in Miami, hanging in an airport lounge and watching Telemundo. So far there has been one emotional breakdown, a proposal, and a few accusations and a couple of catfights. I am hoping this is all kept to the telanovelas and not to the flight home.
Then again, if things go wrong I do have 50 others from Tallahassee who might be able to help out.