San Francisco to Charleston
A long awaited trip back east with my departure from SFO on American Airlines for Charleston, SC., via Charlotte, NC, began Tuesday, November 3 on Election Day in the United States and the Paris massacre had not yet happened. In the airport I had a sizzling conversation with main squeeze (oh! I love this person so) who currently lives in another country and talked on and on his voice soothing me so before the plane ever took off, which prompted my missing my scheduled flight even though I had arrived early (for a change) to suffer through a rigorous checkpoint Charlie for airport security clearance.
As anticipated I got pulled aside for a complete pat down of frontal and backside by a tall skinny man with olive-skin complexion and curly black hair. Without batting an eyelid he explained the situation (for safety purposes as if I was a threat) like a programmed robot and pulled on a set of blue plastic gloves. I tried not to look startled and swallowed a dry lump in my throat after hearing the band of the last glove snap on his skinny hairy wrist and his commanding me to raise my arms in the air and spread my legs. I closed my eyes and trembled expecting his next command, “Now, Mr Pearson, bend over and pull your cheeks apart...” as if I was in a doctor's office for a dreaded prostrate examination.
After talking so with my SOS I ended up missing my scheduled flight by two minutes; mainly because I was sitting in the wrong terminal. The run to Gate 47 from Gate 54 was much longer than I expected, and I shouldn't have stopped to take just two more pictures. An AA staff member told me I had been paged, but I never heard my name. Still she was kind and placed me on standby for the next flight to Charlotte in the next hour without extra charges and told me she was sorry that I missed my scheduled flight bound for Charleston. In fact, lovely old Charleston suddenly became a topic of conversation among the crew...
In Charlotte the next morning, I was again placed on standby due to my first missed flight in San Francisco. This time I stayed in one place and saw my name appear on screen at the top of the list. That worked and when they called my name I was beaming with pleasure to be able to board the next flight for Charleston.
On a American Airlines flight departing for Charleston with seat every filled I sat squeezed between two men in the last row. One, a businessman in a suit on my left, worked on his laptop all the way, the other, a burly guy in jeans and short sleeve shirt on my right, sipped a Coca Cola, glanced at me occasionally but mostly he stared out the window into the clouds we drifted above over South Carolina. The moment the flight attendant finished her performance of safety tips and what to do in case of emergency, I took a deep breath and fell right to sleep...