I’d been feeling depressed with my dad out of town, but today I managed to take a shower before fetching him from the airport. (It’s been too long. I had to wash my hair twice.) I’ve never gotten someone from the airport before, and I feel quite confident now that I know how to do it. It’s great to learn a new skill!
I followed the signs toward parking as carefully as I could and missed the entrance the first time, but the road circled right back around. No problem. The second time I curved into the parking area, choosing to park outdoors. The thought of dealing with a garage where you have to keep driving around and around and around in search of that elusive spot just seemed too demoralizing.
I made mental note of which letter I parked near (feel free to guess in the comments) and followed a few people who seemed to know where they were going. At first there were no signs at all, and I figured the airport was in the direction of the nearest building. Eventually I entered the airport at ground level and looked around. I had absolutely no idea where my dad was supposed to appear, and there were no signs, so I approached the help desk. The woman was very nice and friendly and explained where my dad would show up. So I took the escalator upstairs and waited, and sure enough, large groups of people kept exiting by the security entrance after leaving their planes. Nice. So I curled up on a padded bench and waited.
Then it happened: the gong-gong. “Ladies and gentlemen, the local time is 4:30.” Ohhhh, that sound! Oh my goodness! My travel fever intensified! Be still my heart. I must travel and visit Sonya soon!
My dad’s plane was listed as arriving early at 4:42 instead of 5:05. But 4:42 came and went. I finally ventured near the security exit to see what time it was, and it was 4:52. Hmm. Had I missed him? Nah… he’s hard to miss.
I paced around a bit and wandered over to the escalators, but I couldn’t see over their foliage to see if he was downstairs near baggage claim. (Not that he checked any luggage. He just took his carry-on bag.)
And then I saw him emerging from the security area. YAY! I walked up to him and said, “You exited the plane! Good for you.”
“Yeah!” he replied. “So, where’d you park?”
“You’ll be so proud of me,” I said as we walked toward the escalators. “I found a great parking spot outside that isn’t too far from here.”
We exited the building and I was intuitively able to retrace my route, which impressed me. I’m often bad with inner maps, but I led us straight toward my car.
As we walked, my dad became a grump. “You parked all the way across this parking lot? Why didn’t you park inside? You parked in the long-term area. We’ll probably have to pay, like, ten dollars to exit. What were you thinking?”
“Hmmph. Next time, you can get yourself home,” I said. Some strangers nearby overheard me and burst into laughter. I was still deftly leading my dad in the right direction. We were crossing a huge, desolate field of some kind.
We reached the area I’d made mental note of and my dad immediately said, “I don’t see your car.”
“Grump. It’s nearby,” I assured him. I walked to the next aisle over. “Here it is!”
We got in the car, and he drove us toward the exit. “I can’t believe what I’m going to have to pay for parking,” he fumed.
“You just got an all-expenses-paid trip to Denver and back on your generous sister’s dime,” I pointed out. “Oh, but you might have to pay ten dollars.”
He agreed that that was a good way to look at it. He approached the tollbooth, and he started grumbling about how my car, a lovely 1995 Saturn, has a broken side window that’s impossible to roll down. “I’ll have to exit the car to pay the woman,” he groused.
“Now, now, you’ve got a bad attitude,” I lectured.
He turned the manual knob, and the driver-side window descended a few inches while jutting forward at an unhealthy diagonal. I rolled my eyes.
“Sorry,” he said to the attendant. “Our car window doesn’t work.” He reached through the narrow opening and handed her the ticket I’d saved.
She scanned it. Her voice was heavy with authority. “That will be one dollar,” she announced.
He paid her and kept driving.
“One dollar,” I said. “Huh. One dollar. What do you know? I got the car parked for one dollar. How about that?”
“Well… well…” he spluttered. “You parked all the way across the county.”
“Yeah, for one dollar,” I reiterated. “One dollar. I can pay you back.” I couldn’t help but have fun at his expense.
He told me about his trip as he drove home. “Bonnie likes your books, Forever Thirteen,” he said. “She read all of them and thought they were great.” Bonnie is an adopted cousin of mine.
“It’s Forever Twelve,” I corrected. “Wow, that’s great! Did she give any specifics?”
“Nah. I asked her how many books she’s published, and she said you should never ask a writer that.”
“Huh. I didn’t know that,” I admitted.
“Neither did I. The only other writer I know is you, and you’ve published…”
“A lot. Twelve in my Forever Twelve series, and four young-adult standalone novels, I think.”
“Yeah,” he said. “Oh, hey, you know how you told me that you can’t pack mouthwash?”
“Yes?” I glanced at him. He’d left his mouthwash at home at my insistence.
“You might have been right about that. But, uh… I didn’t know that sunscreen wasn’t allowed.”
“Oh? What happened?”
“They searched through my whole bag,” he told me. “They even went through my duct-taped drawers.”
I groaned. He was referring to his boxers. And just for the record, I’ve offered repeatedly to buy him some new ones on Amazon. And yet he must repair his old ones with duct tape. My hands are tied here. Surely you see this.
He continued. “See, the sunscreen showed up on their screen, and they found it.”
“And yet they allowed your cigars?” I asked.
“Yeah, tobacco’s allowed, but here’s the funny thing,” he said. “While they were busy searching my carry-on bag for the sunscreen, they neglected my jacket pockets. I had three boxes of matches in there the whole time.”
“Lord above,” I said softly. “That’s braggable times a million. And you got on the plane with them?”
“I sure did. See, I don’t think matches show up on security screens.”
I rolled my eyes. “Let’s not tell the terrorists that! It can be our little secret.”
I’d love to try to get on a flight sometime with something more contraband than matches, just to one-up my dad, but in truth I take security very seriously. But still. I doff my cap to my father today. Wow.
When we got home, LuLu the pup was so glad to see him! She became manic and excitable.
I think that’s all I have to report now. A fun time was had by all!