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Keep Humble and You'll Be Alright
2 Other Near Misses

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

Back in New Orleans, my daughter had been commenting on the amount of time needed to make it through security at Louis Armstrong Airport. A couple, visiting New Orleans and my daughter's mother, had disagreed with each other. The wife suggested that they could arrive one hour before their flight departure. The husband insisted that they needed an hour and a half at the airport. Privately my daughter opined that an hour and a half might be necessary at larger airports, but that an hour was sufficient in NOLA.

The morning of my flight I woke at 6:00. My flight from New Orleans to Tennessee was scheduled to leave at 10:30. I had plenty of time. So much so that I even pedaled my ex-wife's bicycle back to her house. The bike path along the bayou is beautiful and the temperature at that hour is very tolerable. I threw pebbles up at her bedroom window to get her attention without waking her guests. She gave me a ride home.

Relying on my daughter's time estimate, I was too lax. She's a frequent flyer and I'm sure she's correct... usually. But this wasn't a usual day. This was Memorial Day weekend and the crowds would be larger. Then, with my usual lackadaisicalnessness, time got away from me. I arrived at the airport 50 minutes before my departure time.

After spending 20 minutes in the extended security line, it became clear that I was going to miss my flight. So I cheated. After another agonizing 7-10 minutes, at one bend of the serpentine line I undid the ribbon from the post and cut in front of 20 or so people. Few noticed. No one complained. But I was still pressed for time. After presenting my boarding pass and ID to the TSA guard I tried a similar maneuver using my lateness as an excuse, but the TSA guard sent me back. Then, there was a miracle. The TSA guard's companion on the far side of the scanner told her that they were shutting down our line and that we all should go over to another which was about to open. The fourteen persons in front of me dutifully marched over to the new position. I grabbed a couple of gray bins, cut in front of the last person on the line that was closing and took off my shoes. Six minutes later, after my curried vegetable lunch was shaken about and then approved, I was in line to board the airplane. Ten minutes after that we were taxiing for takeoff.

Believe it or not, landing in Atlanta involved a very similar experience. We touched down without incident at 12:50. I had a reservation on the 2:15 shuttle to Chattanoogah. Cousin Larry would pick me up at a stop outside the city. I had a lot of time to kill. Following the signs to "Ground Transportation" I was in no rush at all. I dawdled on the people movers, taking in the sculpture exhibit that lines the whole way, until I just couldn't help adding my walking speed to its snail's pace. Then, unhurried, it was onto the train and up the really tall escalator. (In 2018 Atlanta moved the most flyers of any airport in the world. Beijing came in second.) In no rush at all, eventually I arrived at the outer door. The man there answered me that Groome Transportation was, "Across the way and down a bit." When I told him I thought I would pass the time until my departure in the air conditioned terminal, he encouraged me to go see where they were located and then come back. When I did go see, I discovered that the 1:15 shuttle had not left yet. I was welcomed aboard it, thus saving myself an uncomfortable hour at the airport.

So in the same trip I almost missed a flight and a shuttle. Including my later encounter with the snake, the common pattern of these three episodes might be called the Guardian Angel Effect. That is, everything turned out fine: I made the plane; I took the earlier shuttle; I did not get closer to the "rubber" snake.

That's the good news. The bad news is that I was ridiculously remiss in all three episodes, unthinking, unaware. I did not think of the possibility of longer lines to get through security due to increased travel on the Memorial Day weekend. I did not think of the possibility of taking an earlier shuttle to Chattanoogah. I did not think, what I knew to be true, namely, that the snake had not been there just a few moments before. (Nor did I consider the possibility, the advisability, of checking, with a prod from a broomstick, to see if it were a real snake.)

The moral? Anticipate the unknown? Don't think too much of yourself? Life is really a controlled fall; racing downhill, we can't stop, but, skipping over rocks and avoiding the precipices, to some extent, we can navigate the path of our descent. As the man advised when I had to spend some time among unsavory sorts, "Keep humble and you'll be alright."


photo: Alessandro Bo (cropped)

Dr David has been publishing this online magazine for 4 years now. He is about to expand the format of the magazine and publish it under a new name, San Miguel Sunday. Anyone with any interest in contributing articles is heartily encouraged to contact him at the email below. The "Best City in the World" deserves a good lokkal magazine.

events @ sanmiguelevents.com

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