This blog entry is a result of accidents

I almost didn’t catch my flight to Boston. Almost. Instead, I barely made it and I have a story to tell. With a flight at 1:55pm, I never worried when I called for a cab at 12:00pm going from the GSB campus in Hyde Park to O’Hare. It was a 45 minute ride max. I would be in O’Hare by 1:00pm. Perfect plan, as always. Here’s what transpired:

1200: called cab, sit comfortably in the GSB lounge, chatting with a friend
1215: nobody called back to confirm a cab… getting nervous and walked outside to call cab company…
1216: “Your call is very important to us; the next available representative will answer your call”
1217: “Your call is very important to us; the next available representative will answer your call”
1225: I spotted a cab, not from the company I called, wandering around the campus entrance. This never happens. I quickly flagged it down – it was indeed available! This is my lucky day.
1245: Hitting traffic on I-90/94. No sweat… mostly cus I’m sound asleep in the cab.
1308: Arriving at O’Hare. $58 cab ride. Thank you, Bain.
1315: Cab driver still trying to get the credit card thingy to work. Meanwhile, I’m getting nervous.
1316: still trying… life is a funny thing: if it weren’t for this cab wandering in front of the GSB, I would have never made it in time, and I would have come to terms while on the cab. Instead, here I am with a ray of hope, and THE CREDIT CARD READER DOESN’T WORK. Ahhhh.
1320: Finally. That took freaking FIVE minutes. Proceeding to check in counters.
1321: New security rules say that liquid cannot be carried onboard. There’s a ridiculous 3-1-1 rule that has absolutely no point but to boost the sales of zip-locks. Anyway, since my hair gel and tooth paste are in violation of safety regulations (too big), I obediently line up to check in my bag. Meanwhile, a man is arguing with a United agent about his delayed flight and that he’d rather drive to Milwaukee. Drive, brother, don’t hold up the line. Arg.
1325: E-ticket machine won’t take my credit card at all. Visa, AE, Chase Debit card. Nothing. Frustrated, I ask a United person why… “sir, please calm down” was all I got. Results, lady, results.
1328: Good, the next machine reads credit cards. “Are you going to Boston” Yes. “You cannot check into your flight now. Would you like to view other flight options?” WHAT? I can’t check in!? Another United person says I can’t check in because there’s a 45 minute cut off. Damn.
1330: I mindlessly book myself on the next flight at 4:00pm (A lot of waiting… and a $25 charge. I wonder if Bain pays for these mistakes. I wonder if they’d still pay if they read this.) and somehow formulated a backup plan. I would NOT check in my bags, try and get through security, sacrifice hair gel and tooth paste, and try and hop onto my original 1:55 pm flight. This could work. Maybe I can put the tooth paste in my pocket and try and get through.
1331: Okay, I will execute this plan.
1332: Long security line with a bottle neck at the ID stage! Even he who almost failed operations knows you need one more server at the check ID stage! That should never be the bottleneck! All the X-Ray guys are idle! Why do I keep using exclamation marks!? 23 minutes before take off.
1336: There are three lanes. I lined up behind a family that seemed to have fed all their belongings into the X-Ray. Always a good sign. I unload my laptop and start feeding mine in too… except that the security kept wanting the kid to take off his bracelet and the mother had a hard time convincing the kid to take it off. Alerted, I immediately pulled my half fed bag out from the X-Ray feed (believe me, it was that dramatic) and moved to the next line where there’s a man in front. Like I said before, life is a funny thing: if it weren’t for the inefficient ID-check, I wouldn’t have the chance to change lines at X-Ray since the lines would have been full.
1338: Oooo… I forgot about hiding my hair gel and toothpaste. Oh well. Everything is going into X-Ray. Wow, nobody said anything. I’ve been stopped twice before and forced to check in my bags. Not this time. This particular security line was very lax and mostly falling asleep, unlike the person in the next line who gave the kid a hard time.
1340: I’m through! With my hair gel and toothpaste. AND THE BOSTON FLIGHT IS AT THE GATE RIGHT ACROSS FROM SECURITY! Sweet Jesus, this IS my lucky day.
1341: NOT (Borat, you have revived this “joke”). There was nobody at the counter but a lady at the gate. I quickly went over and asked if I could get onto this flight. “Sir, I’m sorry, I’ve signed off from this gate.” I’m on the 4:00 pm flight and would really appreciate not having to wait… “Let me see what I can do.” Thank you so much, I’m sorry I’m so last minute. “That’s okay, sir…”
1345: She’s typing while I’m sweating. I’ve come so far to be so close. Please let me… “Sir, you’re at 21A, we have to close the gates now” THANK YOU!
1346: I just fastened my seatbelts when the flight attendant announced that they were closing the doors and all electronic devices should be turned off.

Phew. That was a close call. Literally everything had to go right and go wrong for me to be on the plane typing up this blog entry. The original cab had to forget about me (who knows how long it would have taken them). The alternative cab had to wander around Hyde Park looking for business, a very rare occurrence. The credit card reader had to malfunction (to create drama for the blog). The E-ticket reader had to malfunction (more drama). The ID lady had to be slow (to create the possibility of switching from a strict security lane to a lax one). The security lane had to be lax (if they asked to see my luggage and take out the hair gel and toothpaste, I don’t think I would have made it even though I was ready to sacrifice them). The gate had to be right in front of security. The lady had to be there.

What can I say… everything thing had to be perfect for me to get on this flight! Sort of like many other things in life. Circumstances are very important. You can call it luck or whatever. I call it results-oriented good thinking plus a lot of luck.

Boston. Oishi. Here I come. (This was written on the airplane and posted a day later due to lack of internet)


shmoo said...

This sounds like Rags' blog.

w said...

things happen for a reason :P ur 1 always!! wk