Momma and I fled to Florida in late December. It was insanely cold in Minni and Momma decided it was time to get out of Dodge. (Predictably, Momma carped: “I can’t wait for global warming to reach Minnesota, Lina!”) We did arrive here in one piece, but our voyage, as usual, was filled with missteps and humiliating moments.
Upon our arrival at the airport, Momma and the cab driver (she’s apparently given up on Uber) lugged her mountain of luggage to the curbside check-in counter. When we finally got to speak with a skycap, he informed her that she had to check in at “Special Services” because she had to buy a ticket for me (something that drives her up the wall). It was no easy task, but Momma managed to gather up all of her belongings and roll us (yes, me too – my carrier has wheels) into the main terminal. Finding Special Services was no easy task either because it had moved. I think we might still be rolling around the terminal if an airport policeman had not taken pity and pointed us in the right direction.
After finishing up with Special Services, we were shuffled over to the regular security lane where we joined another lengthy line. After that hellacious wait and screening process, Momma decided that I should go potty once more and dragged me to the “Pet Relief” area.
(Momma: “Really? Does everything have to have a politically correct name these days, Lina??”)
It was a welcome site, though, because I really had to go. And just in case you’re wondering, this relief area was in compliance with President Obama’s order regarding restrooms: all doggies could use it – no matter their birth or chosen gender identity. I felt better all ready.
Next we went to the Sky Club where Momma’s plan was to pilfer some food for the plane ride (“I’m not paying $7 for a snack box, Lina!”). Her favorite trick was to eat a small meal there and then make a peanut butter and bagel sandwich, wrap it in a napkin and slip it into a plastic zipper bag that she brought from home. She was foiled this time because the Club was being redone and she couldn’t find the bagels. She couldn’t find the wine either. Momma was not having a good day.
When we finally made our way to the gate, Momma asked some random person if they were boarding yet and the random person responded, “just priority at this point.” Well, Momma thought – that’s us – and she pulled me into line. Luckily just before she showed her boarding pass to the agent, she saw on the scheduling board that this particular plane was departing to Atlanta. Momma, with a furtive glance around, quietly pulled me away.
When we at last stumbled on the gate for Ft. Myers, we found out that the airplane was delayed by an hour. Momma, who had forgotten to bring cash with her, decided that she would use this opportunity to get some from an ATM machine. She soon discovered, however, that her card (was a debit card the same as a cash card, she wondered?) had not been activated. Nor could she activate it because she did not remember her password. When she angrily called up a bank representative, he told her that if she tried to key in a password one more time and it was wrong, she would be locked out of her account and would have to go to the bank in person to get a new card. Better to wait until tomorrow and try again, he counseled.
By now, Momma was like a wet noodle – and collapsed into a seat in the gate waiting area. And speaking of wet, she knew in her heart of hearts that she should take me to the politically correct pet relief area once more, but she just couldn’t face another interminable terminal-length walk, carrying her tote, her purse and pulling me. Instead (go figure!), she asked a man – a total stranger – sitting across from us if she could have some of his (bottled) water for me. She poured some in my portable cup and I drank like a drunken sail0r. As you can imagine, this made for an even more uncomfortable trip.
When they finally started boarding our plane, Momma pulled me along and pushed her way towards the overhead monitor to see if we might have been upgraded. All of a sudden she saw her name on the first class list with a 5 by it. Jumping to the wild (and implausible) conclusion that she had been upgraded to seat 5 (whatever that is) in first class, she pulled me into line practically screaming, “Lina, we’ve been upgraded!” When we got to the scanner, however, the boarding agent gave Momma a stern look and explained that, no, she had not been upgraded but rather was probably number 5 on the waiting list. Mercifully, she let us board anyway. Luckily no one could see my face through the mesh window in my carrier.
When we got to our assigned seat in coach, Momma discovered that there was no way I would fit under the seat in front of her (a requirement). Just to be sure though, she tried stuffing me in from all different angles before giving up.
Momma was now confused, angry and a little scared. She was sure that she had given the representative the correct size of my carrier on the phone. But what if she measured wrong – would we be forced to get off the plane – an(other) unthinkable horror?
Momma realized at this point that her only option was to try and hide me, so she placed the carrier right in front of her seat and stretched her legs over me. Then she got out her copy of USA Today and spread it out as wide as she could. Luckily, the harried flight attendants did not see me and off we went. Pretty sure that they wouldn’t turn the plane around, we both breathed a sigh of relief.
I just have one question – is there anyone out there who does not think that Momma should have a (carrier-free) psychiatric service animal?
Lina, Ready To Serve