Public goodbyes are always awkward, especially with your parents. No matter how many times you come and go, say goodbye, or see you at the next holiday, wedding or funeral, they never get easier for a mother, even when her son is 36 years old. Twelve kisses, and a billion hugs from my mother, and a handshake and one manly hug from my father later, I was off to the security gate to undress. Standing in line, holding my belt, shoes, and dignity, I debate to myself if I left my razor in my carry-on, or remembered to put it in the checked bag. I try to keep my panic attack to a minimum as I quickly throw my stuff in a plastic container and wait my turn to go through the metal detector. The lady in front of me, obviously an 80-year-old, blue-haired drug smuggler, sets off the machine. After 30 seconds of searching, it ends up being her necklace that sounded the alarm.
I slickly walk through the machine and thankfully do not set anything off. I await my bag, which also passed the test, and then stumble over to a bench to reassemble myself. Either my razor has been overlooked, or I had remembered to put it in the other suitcase, either way I was excited to be on my way to gate C23. Now the gauntlet begins. The journey from the security area to the boarding gate can be a tricky maze. I admit, I’m more of a defensive walker. I’m traveling alone, have one carry-on, and no allies. I accept the fact I am outnumbered by large families, strollers, and couples who refuse to unclasp their hands when walking in crowded places, no matter the fact it may cause the death or paralysis of a stranger or two.
My heart starts to race as I begin my journey. I try and stay on the right side of the walkway since I am slower because I have a habit of looking at the shops and restaurants as I pass by. Yes, I know this is dangerous, but I can’t help myself. The newsstands, candy shops, and fast food restaurants are the only entertainment I will have for what feels like will be an eternity. I stop to buy a cup of coffee and find a seat at gate C23. Two cups of coffee, one trip to the bathroom, and 45 pages later, the boarding call is finally made. People rush into line like its one minute until they start charging dinner prices at the buffet line.
On the way to my seat, I help an elderly gentleman put his suitcase in the overhead bin. I was feeling pretty good about myself until two seconds later a short, scary lady almost knocked me over when she backed up into me with what I can only imagine is a bag carrying a large child or very small adult. After I shake off the concussion, I finally sit down. The couple next to me are arguing over what time the rental car place closes. I put on my headphones, close my eyes, and start to relax. Just when I was about to fall asleep, I remember I left my razor at my parent’s house. I put it on the dresser so I wouldn’t forget it. Obviously, that worked out as planned. Damn! I heave a big sigh at myself and try to relax again. I wonder if I my electric razor is charged. My mind wanders the rest of the plane ride home.