Monday, May 21, 2012

If rain on your wedding day is lucky, then friends' travel misadventures en route to your wedding have to be doubly lucky.

So Pnin and I were in San Francisco this weekend to attend a fellow blogger's wedding. Because I would need to leave for IAD from work downtown, I thought I'd order a taxi rather than lug my suitcase the usual fifteen to twenty minutes toward the metro. I ordered the taxi online the night before for 8:00 a.m., figuring that would give me plenty of time to get downtown for a meeting I needed to attend at 8:30. After three increasingly frantic calls, I concluded despairingly at 8:25 that there was no way that I could get to the meeting on time even if the taxi could fly and sent a deeply apolegetic e-mail to my boss. At 8:45, Pnin wandered downstairs and volunteered to drive me. Because of rush hour traffic, we concluded that I might have a better chance of getting downtown quickly if he just drove me to the metro station rather than all the way downtown. Indeed, the Orange line train came quickly. The train traveled exactly one stop, and then... a voice over the loudspeaker ordered everyone off the train due to some unspecified emergency. I glumly and clumsily hauled the bag off the train and waited around while the off-loaded crowds made their way onto several subsequent trains. I happened to make it downtown by about 9:40.

So, fast forward to time to leave for IAD -- about 2:30. I was able to hail a taxi relatively quickly, but when I did, I noticed that the elephant charm had become detached from my bracelet. I think I have mostly confined my musings about the joys of elephant jewelry to Facebook, rather than this blog. Still, suffice it to say that I am very attached to the  elephant bracelet. It is not a very valuable item -- I paid approximately half the price listed at the link on Gilt -- but it nonetheless holds great sentimental value.  I searched carefully through the cab seat, but to no avail. The elephant must have popped off at some earlier point. Grrr.

I'm not sure exactly what time I arrived at IAD, but I think it was comfortably more than an hour before my flight. The line to check bags was long, though, longer than many I've been in before. Once I got to the front of it, I found that I couldn't seem to scan my credit card or driver license to check in. After I finally got the attention of someone who could help me, she informed me, "You're too late to check in bags. Your flight leaves in less than an hour. Do you have any  liquids over three ounces?"


"Well, then you can't board your flight."

So I could neither check my bag nor not check my bag. Relatedly, Jesus is neither divine nor human. This must also be one of those ineffable mysteries of life comprehensible only to Anthony Kennedy. Well... maybe the more rational explanation was that I could switch to a later flight. But that would probably have to be the red eye, and I didn't want to show up half-exhausted to the wedding, especially since I should not realistically have that much trouble making the flight that I was actually supposed to be on. "I'll make something work," I mumbled. I'd seen plenty of accounts of TSA people missing liquids over the limit. My brother-in-law once accidentally got a Swiss army knife past them that he'd forgotten was in his backpack, after all. If they confiscate my things, they confiscate them. Better to take the risk than to delay my travel plans by a few hours.

I played the TSA lottery. And I lost. Unfortunately, they managed to confiscate a bottle of scandously expensive Kerastase shampoo and conditioner; I know I should not spend that much money on hair products, but really, my hair feels so much lovelier when I use them than when I've used anything else. Also a cheap bottle of hair spray and a modestly expensive bottle of papaya enzyme toner.  They let a bottle of contact lens solution slip through because there was clearly less than three ounces left because it was see-through. There was part of me that wanted to cry on the spot, but I resisted the urge. The screeners are not the right targets for my rage. It is not their fault that their political bosses have screwy notions regarding cost-benefit analysis.

Things got better from there. I made it safely to San Francisco, although I note that the plane was an hour late in taking off because they had issues calibrating the relevant weights.  It was altogether rather ironic given the desk agent's stubborn insistence that I was too late to check luggage. Pnin and I had fun renting a car and driving downtown to see the Golden Gate bridge and the cool buffaloes in the Golden Gate National Refuge Area. And the wedding itself was great! 1930s details! Meeting another reader of this blog -- especially since I estimate I have about three and a half readers, the half being a miniature poodle! Also, libertarian law nerds! And, finally, Pnin and I had a much less eventful journey back and were happily reunited with our Willow.

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