Since December, I’ve been commuting to Boston pretty frequently for my job. What started as a monthly trip turned into once every two or three weeks and, most recently, trips three weeks in a row and four in the past five. I generally only spend two or three days there, so I’m still in Charlotte more than not.
I’ve written pretty sparely about my experiences commuting – here’s the exception. But that ends today. This is about the weather and my recent odyssey home – complete with a Cyclops of a sort, roadblocks, the Flying Canadian Beckys, and more. So here goes.
Whether the weather matters – and how
Of course it matters. When I started going up last winter, I worried about the cold weather. Spoiler alert – it wasn’t really that cold this year. I remember one morning in the single digits (it happened to be a departure morning ). Other than that, I don’t even remember anything colder than the mid-20s. Tolerable, in the world according to Arthur where I’m ALWAYS too hot.
So now, of course, it’s spring – even in Boston. And compared to Charlotte, it’s much cooler. You’d think that would be a good thing, right? You’d be wrong.
Here’s why: Because it’s cooler to start with, it seems most drivers/businesses in Boston apparently see no reason to use (or even have) air conditioning. That’s why being cooler isn’t.
Not The Odyssey, but my odyssey
I had to get home Thursday night (so I could see Garrett get some awards Friday), so I took a later than usual flight back – it was to leave at 9:01 and land at 11:30. Of course, it didn’t, but that would up being a good thing – some interesting stuff happened.
The Big Lie
Have you seen all the TV and print reports about how terrible it is to get through security right now at airports, with three-hour waits common and folks sleeping in airports because they missed their flights and every other horror available?
I can’t speak for every airport, of course, and I know there have been some actual problems in Chicago. But I can speak for Charlotte and Boston (and I’ve read similar sentiments from Sports Illustrated football guy Peter King). It’s all overblown. The combined amount of time I spent in line and going through security last week for my trip was less than 2 minutes – yes, I said minutes.
What the cyclops didn’t see
In The Odessey, one of the problems Ulysses faces on the way home is the Cyclops – a one-eyed giant bent on killing him and his crew. The cyclops I encountered at my gate in the Boston airport wasn’t a giant, and she had two eyes. But she only saw one thing – herself.
I heard her talking to a guy near me as we waited for our group to be called to board the plane. She lived in Orlando but wished she lived in Tampa. She was already obnoxious when I heard her say it.
‘I’m in Group 3, but I’m going to stand up there and get in the way and get first.’ This matters, because on full flights – and all Boston-Charlotte flights generally are full – it’s a mad dash to get your carry-on bag in the overhead container. Even in Group 2, it’s difficult. So jumping the line is ridiculous. And she bragged about it.
This flight was more than full – they apparently sold one seat twice. They resolved it, but it was a big hassle because nobody was sitting in the right seat. In part because of …
The Canadian Beckys
Despite the cyclops, I made it to my seat (a couple of rows behind her – I gave her a major glare as I passed but I’m pretty sure she was oblivious to anything that didn’t directly affect her – and got my bag stored OK.
And then I started noticing something: A parade of young women – most appeared to be somewhere around 15 years old – all wearing shirts that said ‘Becky.’ They started trading seats with non-Beckys so they could site near one another and a woman whom I guess was their chaperone.
I don’t know if they made up a choir or a sports team or a club or what. What I do know: They talked. A lot. Which is why I knew they were Canadian. One of them, Becky 7 (and I swear I’m not making that up), mentioned that they were from Canada. And that she was excited to be going to Charlotte. The chaperone reminded her that they really wouldn’t be spending much time in the Queen City – I don’t know their final destination.
But I know that Becky 7 also was excited about going to Chick-fil-A – I boycott eating there but figured I couldn’t justify leaving the name out of this. And she also wanted to eat a grit.
Becky 7 and the other Beckys chattered pretty constantly through the flight. Which was delayed. But we did finally get back about 11:45ish that night. And I gotta tell you, the Charlotte airport was active. By which I mean it took forever for me to get out, board my shuttle and exit the airport.
But now I was on the last leg of the trip home. Which I thought would go quickly. Except it didn’t.
I-485 wasn’t too bad, but when I got off on the local road that comes near my house, things took a turn. Or didn’t. Because I didn’t move at all. Because of construction on that road. I’m not sure what they were doing, but they closed a lane. And, like the refugees in Casablance, I wait. And wait. And wait.
Until finally it’s my turn to go. Now I’m in the home stretch. Smooth sailing, right? Nope. I go a mile or two and there are two police cruisers straddling my lane. I could go around them, but I wasn’t sure I should. I’m not sure why they were stopped there, but after a minute or two, one pulls off leaving me a clear lane.
So I beat on, a boat against my current, borne back ceaselessly … actually I wasn’t borne back at this point. And unlike Gatsby, I wasn’t attracted by a green light.
What I nearly missed
No, mine was red. More specifically, it was the light from a huge blood red moon Thursday night. A not-quite full but pretty close to it red moon. It was beautiful – a small but welcome distraction that led me back home.
Where I wanted – and always want – to be.