Sunday, October 11, 2009

Zone 3

By time we arrived at John Wayne, Orange County, Santa Anna, Britney Spears International airport brought to you by Disney and ESPN, I had a massive sinus headache. I was sure that I had brought along my over the counter sinus pills but after fishing through my carry on back pack/rolling luggage in a head pounding haze, I could not find a single precious blister pack with magic pills.

So you'll have to forgive me if I was just a little out of it when we landed.

We had boarded the plane by zones in Atlanta and we ended up being among the first to reach "zone 3" or as I like to call it, "the back of the bus". We were literally in the last seats. The only way you could be behind us is if you sat in the bathroom directly behind us.

The bathroom, by the way, has something seriously wrong with it since it stank worse than a Mr-Bob portopotty on a warm August night. We spent our time on the ground in Atlanta searching for "good air" and covering our noses with clothing like our shirts and scarves.

One of the final last row refugees to arrive was an oriental american who sat across from us. I watched as he tried stuffing his coat and TWO carryons into the few spaces left. At this point I must have had some sort of stink induced hallucination since I swear I saw him stuff his coat in front of my back pack/rolling luggage thingee in the over head compartment across the aisle from me.

I know I saw this happen. I would have sworn in court I saw this happen.

After our 5 hour flight, we landed and were "de-boarding".

SomehoweMr oriental american has somehow slipped out ahead of the rest of us last row victims and was gone.

When I went to grab my luggage, the coat was still there.

Now I had a choice. Choices are bad. I could:

A) leave the coat and hope that Mr Yamagocchi figured out that he left it and alert airline personal who would retrieve the coat.

B) grab the coat and find Mr Yamagocchi and give him the coat.

In my mind stabbing sinus condition, I chose "B".

My wife was of a different opinion. Surprise! she said "A".

So there I was, racing through the airport like OJ Simpson in the old days, dragging my wheeled back pack/luggage combo and carrying a strangers coat all the while watching fleeting shadows of Mr Yamagocchi as he passed through the crowd way ahead of me.

Now the airports these days have the secure zone and the unsecured zone and I was racing towards the unsecured. When I crossed the border into the unsecured, horns and lights went off like I was breaking out of sing-sing.

For brief second I thought "How do they know I have someone else's jacket" as TSA drones yelled at me in Spanglish waving their arms.

They were saying "come forward"... sort of. At least that's what I remember. I still had the sinus induced haze.

I had somehow gone backwards after moving through the border, back into the secure zone.

An obvious TSA no-no.

They let me go on without a strip search but now I had Mr Yamagocchi's jacket and no way to get to to him. Oh no. She was right again. Her track record on things like this is uncanny and you would think at some point I would start listening to her simply on the fact that SHE IS ALWAYS RIGHT, but no.

So now I'm standing there, waiting for my luggage to spring from the chute and then come out to place where I can't reach it because I have a bad spot around the carousel because of being detained by TSA. I'm waiting and waiting when a man I've never seen before in my life approaches me. At first I thought he said "is the the luggage for flight so and so" but no, that is not what he said. He said:

"You have my jacket".

It was not Mr Yamagocchi.

He was a big US Marine looking guy and he said it like "You stole my jacket" which technically I had, but with good intentions.

I never saw this guy on my flight. I swear.

I gave him the jacket and my wife said "Oh good we were looking for you". Which to her was true since she had no idea who I thought I was following. She thought we were following big Marine guy and not Mr Yamagocchi.

I just went with it and took a sinus pill.

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