Back when I lived in New York, I never did airport pickups. First, I didn't have a car. Second, it was a schlep. Third, it was easier for the airport person to just get in a cab or on one of those airport shuttle services.
In Los Angeles, I do a lot of airport pickups and drop offs. On Sunday, I did a pickup which went from routine to rock musical.
First of all, the plane was late. Fortunately, I called the airline before I left the house.
‘I'm sorry. The plane is delayed thirty minutes.' The voice on the phone said to me as if anticipating that I would yell at her.
‘Oh that's okay. I'll just watch more TV.' I said happily as I heard the voice exhale with relief. I was sincere. I had gotten sucked into an episode of The Amazing Race. They were in Poland.
I called three more times before leaving the house. Each time I called, the arrival time had been pushed back ten minutes. I finally left the house five minutes before the plane was due to land.
On my way to airport, I stopped in a nearby Ralphs parking lot and called again. The plane was definitely on the ground. I could have parked in the In-And-Out parking lot, but I didn't want to be tempted. Their shakes are just too darn good.
Picking up from the Southwest terminal is especially tricky because it's hard to get back there if you miss your people. Unlike other terminals where you can drive around in circles for a long time, Southwest is a bit out of the loop, so you either have to change lanes like a maniac or go far out and come back. Also, it is usually a traffic jam with traffic guys trying and failing to maintain a traffic flow.
As I slowly cruised past Southwest, I could not find my people. Where were they? I had to drive on. I hadn't timed it right.
As the Arctic Monkeys CD that I had gotten out of the library played in the CD player, I realized that the Arctic Monkeys made good pickup music.
All you people are vampires All your stories are lame
I directed their lyrics at the cars and minivans in front of me. I scooted and swerved as guitars crunched and whirled. They were pretty good for the latest great thing out of England. They appealed to the driving slam dancer in me.
I got back to Southwest and found my people.
‘Come on! Come on! Let's go! Move it! Move it!' I shouted as I made my universal let's go arm gesture while cars honked and traffic guys all barked different things at me.
My people jumped in, and we were gone. I focused and drove. I turned down the Arctic Monkeys and welcomed my people back to L.A.