Most people worry about the first time they meet their significant other’s parents. I get it, first impressions can be rough. For me, I wasn’t worried about meeting G’s family. I was worried about actually making it to San Antonio to meet his family.
I had (in my future defense) just come back from back to back work trips and a very painful wisdom tooth extraction when I headed out to catch the flight to San Antonio.
Now G + I have completely different pre-flight routines. He prefers a mad dash to the airport and at one point convinced the gate attendant to hold the plane as he ran to grab food. I, on the other hand, like to leave about two hours before my flight departs. Just enough time to account for traffic, delays, slow-moving people at the baggage drop-off. I’ll usually end up with a a half hour to spare- just enough time to, fill up my water bottle (hello, environment), run to the loo, and play a last minute round of Two Dots.
On this occasion, I decided to avoid any potential stressful situations and told G that I’d meet him at the airport. I checked the train schedule and realized that I could get to the airport with some extra time to finish the latest murder mystery I was reading. And off I went, making all three connections- 2/3 subway to Penn Station, NJ Transit train to the Air Train Stop, and then the actual air train to Newark Airport— in record time.
I wasn’t even bothered when Newark rudely took away the Pre-Check line and I had to stand in a line of about a hundred people. No matter, I just have more time to call my mom to gloat about my awesome planning skills, conduct some exciting NJ people-watching, and power through an epic Two Dots battle.
Success was mine…until:
“Mam, you’ve got the wrong airport”
“I’m sorry. Your ticket is actually for LaGuardia airport”
Friday afternoon at the start of peak rush hour and I needed to cross back into NYC to Queens! I took off like a bat, jumping over abandoned suitcases and small children until I made it to the taxi line. After hastily explaining my situation, Ivan took off with the zeal that can only come from the most sympathetic taxi driver around.
“It’s going to be tough”– he said as he overtook a slow cop on the highway— ” but good things come to good people. Trust me I’ve been driving for over 30 years.”
And off we went.
I concentrated on not checking my watch. I contemplated calling G to explain that somehow I, the planner, had mixed up airports and would most likely not make it to SA. Instead, I called my mom for the reassurance that Ivan and I both needed.
Miraculously, we avoided traffic jam after traffic jam, some pile-ups starting just after we had squeezed by. We drove and drove until Ivan said “Miss, we’ll be there in ten minutes.”
Could it be? Could I have witnessed a NYC miracle and crossed town in under an hour? Now it was time to call G to explain that I may actually make the flight. Was Ivan my new best friend? (Yes)
“G- I’m 15 minutes away. It’s a miracle. I might just make our flight. Where are you?”
” Oh. I just left.”
Silence. “G- our flight leaves in thirty three minutes?”
“Plenty of time. I’m just stuck in a little accident on the BQE”
Okay so change of plans- I’m the only one going to San Antonio.
I reach the airport. Give Ivan the biggest tip I can manage, and head into the airport. At this point, I’m on cloud nine. I get my water. I buy some plane Cheetos. I even voluntarily give up my suitcase when they ask all the grumpy Christmas travelers to potentially permanently part with their Christmas gifts. And in the process- I bond with Chang, whose relief at seeing me while 100 angry passengers stare at her is platable.
“Thank you for checking in your luggage. You’re the only one whose volunteered.”
“No problem. I’m just happy I made the flight.”
“So your final destination is…ahh…San Antonio. I love the San Antonio. Promise me you’ll go to the River walk and think of your friend Chang.”
“Of course, Chang! I can’t wait to go! Here’s my suitcase! Take good care.”
I retreat back and wait for G. Of course, the flight is delayed and G makes it with plenty of time. The only problem is… G doesn’t have a seat. When we booked our American Airlines flight back at the beginning of December, the airline nicely told us to check back 24 hours before the flight. In my rush back from Boston, I checked in, got my seat, and assumed the process would be the same for G.
I was wrong. I was very wrong.
And to make matters worse, Chang left her command and instead she was replaced with Greg. Now Greg hated his life. He was stuck dealing the airport cattle (aka us passengers) during Christmas season instead of staying at home watching Family Guy in his PJS (or so I assume.) And since G isn’t an adorable five foot Indian girl who bonds with every body, Greg took an extreme disliking to G and told him to wait it out. He repeated this about four times even as almost all the groups boarded and G& I were some of the few people left standing in the boarding area. When the numbers shrank to single digits, G told me to board in case they took my ticket away.
So I boarded and as I handed my ticket over, I noticed Chang coming up from the plane.
“Chang! My boyfriend didn’t get a seat yet! Could you check in on him? We’re going to visit his parents in San Antonio for the first time!”
“Boyfriend?” Chang asked “Okay. Boy-frand!” and took off to take the last few tickets.
I boarded, and while sandwiched in the middle seat, I kept an eagle eye out for G.
A couple more people board. No G.
A couple more. Still no G.
Slowly the attendants started closing the overhead bins. STILL No G.
I mean what exactly would I say to G’s family at the airport. Did “Hi I’m Aheli. Nice to meet you. I left G back in NYC?” sound nice and polite?
Finally, right as the door was closing, G comes in. “Boy-frand” he mouthed to while running through aisle to his seat.
Chang to the absolute magnificant rescue.
Postscript: Despite the many many many obstacles and I had an amazing time with G’s family. They were so hospitable and kind and fed me so many tacos.