The plane landed thirty minutes late, and I was in the second-to-last row. With my heart in my throat, I tapped my foot erratically, chewing my lip and praying that I would somehow manage to make my connection.
I was at London Heathrow, and I only had one hour to catch my flight back to the US, a flight I was determined to catch if it cost me my sanity and the breath in my lungs.
As soon as I could, I charged off the plane. I was on the verge of a hyperventilating fit as I marched through the airport. I was stopped by a man behind a desk who calmly said he liked my hair. "Oh, and Karis is such a pretty name," he added.
It was all I could do not to scream, "I'm late for my flight I don't care if you think I look like Helen of Troy just let me gooooooo!"
Fortunately, I resisted that urge.
Finally, finally, finally I was released to wait for the shuttle bus. I had 55 minutes until my flight departed, 35 until the gate closed. The bus trip between terminals took 12.
Heart in my throat, I shamelessly cut people off in my haste to get into the terminal. I raced to security, where I waited...waited...waited...
I was finally through! I was going to make my flight! I was invincible, I was — wait, what? Why was my bag being pushed to the side? Wait, no! No! Don't put it in line for extra screening! Nooooo!
My bag was at the end of a line, seven bags strong, all of which needed to be checked. The man doing the checking was, well, taking his sweet time swabbing every single article, wandering off to, I dunno, fluff his hairs, returning and swabbing another article...you get the picture.
I waved my boarding pass frantically and shouted at everyone that I needed to get to my plane. Finally, a woman, a lovely, breathtaking, amazing woman took pity upon me. She grabbed my bag, hurried to a desk, and after ascertaining that my tripod was, in fact, harmless, sent me on my way, with a quick, "Make a left at the end of the hall and then run!"
Bless you, security woman at Heathrow.
After sprinting through the terminal, I arrived at the furthest gate (of course). I was bedraggled, out of breath, and flushed. At the sight of me, the gate agents whooped. "Are you K. Rogers?" they asked.
I was aboard the flight. My ordeal was behind me. All would be well!
Except this flight also landed thirty minutes late! I only had one hour to make it through Philly, and of course the powers that be had decided everyone and every bag had to make it through customs. Darn them!
After spending an obscene $5 for a baggage cart and waiting for 15 wasted minutes, I collected my bags, rushed through customs, caught up with a father-daughter-duo whom I'd overhead saying they were going to Charlotte, and then raced to beat them to the security line. They were my insurance policy.
After waiting for a nail-biting 10 minutes in line, I was finally free. My bags were making it through the x-ray machine, and then! Oh, and then — yet again, my bag was selected for extra screening.
The father-daughter left with promises of letting the gate agents know I was coming, and I stood there and watched as six (count 'em, six) security dudes milled about and cracked inside jokes and assiduously avoided my pleading gaze.
So I began to cry.
I'm not proud of it (well, maybe a little), but I brought myself to tears. That got their attention! They became very kind and hurriedly checked my bag, then sent me on my way, promising that gate A26 was "not that far."
Liars, the group of them!
I had to run like the wind and I still barely made it in time.
But make it I did! And the woman next to me was kind enough to offer me tissues for my exercise-induce runny nose, and shortly after boarding we were flying through the skies.
It was...the worst trip ever. But worth it for the story!