Travel Tales: My Rochester Connection, or Gym Class Flashbacks

A friend of mine was getting married in Rochester, New York.  I live in Los Angeles, California.  Luckily for me, there are these flying machines called airplanes that can take you to other parts of the world relatively quickly.  Only thing is, there are no direct flights from LA to Rochester.  I guess there aren’t enough Angelenos traveling to this northern New York city to justify direct flights.  No matter.  I book a flight to Chicago with a two hour layover, giving me plenty of time to make my connection to Rochester.  I’d arrive in Rochester in time for all of the wedding festivities.  You see where this is going.

My LA to Chicago flight gets delayed.  By two hours.  We finally arrive in Chicago, and I almost give up hope at making my connection.  And if I miss the flight, I miss all the fun activities leading up to the actual wedding (and really, that’s why people go to a wedding, am I right?).  But then I remember I have a little app on my phone that lets me check flight updates.  Sure enough, the Rochester plane was also delayed!  It still hadn’t taken off, but it was about to.  So I man up.  It’s go time.

I become “That Guy” on the plane who explains to skeptical passengers I have a connecting flight that is about to leave and I have to cut in front of them.  After many glares in the aisle, I get off the plane and run into the terminal with my rollaway carry-on and backpack.  I yell at a gate employee, like someone out of a disaster movie, “Which way to Gate 4G?!”  The woman points to the connecting terminal, probably half a mile away.  Then I start to run.  I don’t jog—I run.  I take off like I’m being tested in gym class, but now I have the added weight of my backpack, a carry-on to roll, and I’m wearing unacceptable running shoes.  If I were training for a race by adding extra weight during practice runs, this would be great.  But this isn’t practice.  This is the race.  All those gym class feelings come back.  Huffing, puffing, having to stop.  You got it, I tell myself, just a little further.

I finally make it to the gate… and the plane hasn’t departed yet!  I’m thrilled, but I’m also so winded I can’t breath.  I start coughing.  Horrible, wheezing coughing—that dry cough that hurts.  Oh man, was it bad.  And I didn’t even have the pleasure of knowing how fast I ran, like in gym.  As I walk on the plane, I try to play it cool, but the flight attendant knows something’s wrong.  Maybe it’s my beet red face and lung hacking that gives it away.  As I manage to ask for a glass of water without coughing, she hands me the entire bottle.  Score!, the frugal traveler in me thinks, That’s, like, a four dollar value!  As we take off, my wheezing and coughing continues.  I was not feeling better.  I was feeling worse.

Have you ever used a barf bag on an airplane?  I’ve never seen someone use one before, but a few Rochester passengers got to see one in action that day.  Funny, it wasn’t air sickness that did me in, it was my years of never engaging in any physical activity.  As I leaned over in my seat, taking aim in a little paper bag, I finally understood why America needs to get in shape.  It’s not to prevent diabetes or obesity.  It’s so they can make a quick flight connection without vomiting.

The Promised Land of Rochester.

Sep 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert

Airports, Travel Tales, USA


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