Folks, you cannot make this stuff up. About a week ago I fly to another city to join with some girlfriends to celebrate two of their birthdays. Except one of them is sick and can’t come. And this is the one who’s supposed to drive me back to the airport, an hour and a half away, at the end of the trip.
The others quickly book me a private shuttle, but then that service cancels due to a computer crash. First world problems, I know. BUT… this means I must now book a train ride, getting as close to the airport as possible.
And usually train rides are great fun. However, in Joniopolis things can happen. Boarding the train is no problem. But when it pulls into my stop, I jump off with my luggage, and notice the place doesn’t look quite right. So I ask a couple walking by if this is, indeed, the stop I need.
“No, no!” they shout. “It’s the next stop!” Then they GRAB MY LUGGAGE AND THROW IT BACK ONTO THE TRAIN! Have you ever done this in your life? Naturally I jump back onto the train to stay with my bag, and then the doors shut and the train begins moving. (Not all Samaritans are good, I have decided.)
There’s no conductor, no train personnel anywhere, to ask. I’m stuck waiting for the next stop, which turns out to be in one of the worst neighborhoods in the state, with no train station whatsosever. The last stop was the right one, not this one. I have no idea what that couple was thinking.
I cross the street to the “good” side and call for Uber while standing in piles of garbage.
Then my phone freezes. I walk down the road past this lovely billboard and the warning sign below it. I just know I will be robbed at any minute, my luggage the giveaway that I am not a local resident.
I find a “convenience market” that looks like it was just ransacked, or perhaps went through an earthquake.
The man in there, behind several barricades, cannot help me call Uber. On the other hand, next door is a used car lot behind a tall wrought iron fence, where I could probably pick up a car for about $200.00
I stand outside and try Uber again. This time I connect. In a few minutes a woman pulls up to the curb. She is wearing a floppy hat and I do not ask if this is her day job; I do not wish to know.
She drops me at the airport and I go through security, but one of my shoes dings and I have to be x-rayed, my shoes examined. Were the TSA folks just bored, and wanted something to do? Incredibly, they are suspicious of my shoe, but not my water bottle, which sailed through inspection.
I head for my gate, but the whole place is a ghost town.
How can an airport be this empty? In every direction I look, I am the only passenger in the terminal. And then I get it: I’ll bet everybody else is stuck on a train somewhere.
But if you are stuck on a train, at least bring along something to read. I recommend one of my books.