Sunday, May 10, 2009

Time to Get Chill

I recently watched an episode of The Real Housewives of New York, in which Kelly, some sort of cracked out socialite, schedules an appointment with someone and arrives 30 minutes late. In another, she arrives more than an hour late to her own party. Her own party! If anything, I'm around simply so no one walks off with a bottle of wine.

I've never understood people who are consistently late, as I go into a state of panic if I'm so much as one minute late to any type of event, be it a work meeting or my eleven-year-old nephew's birthday party. A couple of weekends ago, I had a flight to Virginia scheduled to depart at 7. I left work at 4, a good three hours before my departure, just so I wouldn't stress over the time.

Of course, the 4:00 bus turned into the 4:30 bus. I stepped on, and instead of seeing an ocean of empty seats, like I typically do being one of the first stops on the line, I saw no less than 10 old people with a various assortment of walking aids all scattered about in the back of bus, just to piss me off, I had no doubt.

I still had an hour and a half to get to the airport, though, so I tried to relax. The bus rolled to a stop at the next stop and the next ... and the next. And all the people getting on looked like they'd been AARP eligible for 20 years. I was confused. Where were they all going? Had I inadvertently stumbled onto the Wide World of Sports Bingo Tour bus?

I was getting nervous--and annoyed. My leg starting bouncing up and down at a faster rate than the bus was moving, and I was starting to sweat. If any of my fellow passengers hadn't needed bottle-thick eyeglasses, they might've thought I was on my way to the methadone clinic--a popular stop on my line.

To make matters worse, when one old person would get on, another would have to get off at the very next stop, a process that seemed to take a year to complete, due to all the walkers and canes in the way of the door. A sweet-looking old lady--she might've been 90--looked at me and remarked, "Wow, this bus is really full!" I was in no mood for chit chat, especially with a retired Capitain Obvious. I looked at her like she had just told me she wanted to take me out with her cane and returned to staring out the window, sighing, and tapping my foot violently. I felt like a complete jackass.

"I'm sorry," I said. "It's just that I'm trying to make a flight and I'm really nervous I'm not going to make it."

"Oh, well what time is your flight?"

"Seven."

I looked down at my cell phone. It was 5 o'clock.

"Well," she said, patting my arm, "I'm sure you'll be okay."

Great. I thought. Grandma thinks I'm Looney Toons. But I had enough to worry about. When the bus finally rolled into the T station, where I would then have to jump on the train and then wait for a shuttle to take me to the airport, it was 5:30. I ran to an open cab.

"How much is it to the airport?" I screamed.

"Thirty bucks."

"I have a 20."

"Get in," the cabbie said. And we were off.

"Can you get me to the airport in half an hour?" I asked in a panic.

The cabbie took a look at the gridlock we were facing.

"I'll do my best. I know a shortcut!"

He slammed his foot on the accelerator and swerved violently to the right, riding the shoulder at 90 miles an hour before turning onto a residential street. I felt like I was in a scene right out of The Fast and the Furious, except for the fact I wasn't drag racing ... and I was in a smelly cab with a guy who looked like Rob Schneider on a bad day and not a Ferrari F355 next to a really hot Paul Walker ... okay, so it was nothing like the movie, but I felt like a bad ass just the same.

"Are you okay?!" the cabbie screamed to me behind his shoulder.

"Yes! Yes!" I screamed back as we came dangerously close to taking out a squirrel. "Do what you need to do!"

Ten minutes later, we came to a stop outside the United terminal.

The cabbie handed me a fistful of business cards, which I gladly took. This guy was so good I could probably call him to take me to DC and he'll make it in an hour, for fifty bucks.

Of course, due to United's evil and confusing ways, although my boarding pass said my flight was with United, it was operated by US Air, my arch nemesis, so I needed to get to the US Air terminal. Which was all the way on the other side of the building. Damn it! I yelled as I broke into a run that would've put Forrest to shame. What seemed like days later, I was finally sitting at my gate, still huffing and puffing from my one-woman race through the airport. I looked down at my cell phone. It was 6 o'clock.

Seeing as I had so much time to kill, I took out my laptop and started Googling rehab centers for people with serious time management problems.