Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Third Airport's the charm - unless you get on the wrong shuttle.

And here we are in the FANtastic Seattle airport.

Glorious Sea Tac.

I love this airport.

We were here for less than 30 minutes.
24 of those minutes were spent frantically trying to find the "N" gates.

I thought we were headed in the right direction, but we seemed to be the only people heading to the "N" gates. This did not bode well. As we headed down a flight of stairs and found ourselves in the underbelly of Seatac wandering narrow, windowless hallways, I started to get nervous. We had stuck to our "don't do anything until you find the gate" plan - but I had to pee.

I had to pee a lot.

Suddenly we rounded a corner and found ourselves on a train platform.

This trip was going Harry Potter on my ass. There's a train at SeaTac? I had No Idea. And I am pretty sure that despite countless flights through this airport, I have never ever needed to ride a train or a bus or any sort of public transport aside from the occasional escalator. This was all very strange, and twinged with the otherworldliness that begins to develop when you are overtired, high on MSG, and desperately needing to find a bathroom.

There was another sign, but it didn't say anything about "N" gates. or "N" terminal.

The panic ratcheted up another few notches, and so too did my need to pee. Obviously, I should have taken another Xanax before deplaning. And I definitely should have peed.

After a while, the train pulled up and the doors swished open and there were people inside. Real live people that totally didn't look like droids and/or zombies.

Well. Maybe a little.

So the train took off, and I was trying to read the little map thing and the train voice was "ding"ing and "bing-bong"-ing to warn us of the  closing doors and the approaching platform and the next stop and meanwhile none of those things had anything to do with the "N" gates.

I started to sweat. I checked my watch. 14 minutes until boarding.

The train started moving again, Lucy clung to the pole while standing on her tippy toes and circling slowly, like only a child of mine could. Max was watching me desperately looking at the map. "I think it's next, mom." he reassured me.

Since Max talks out of his ass a lot, his words didn't really bring me a lot of peace of mind. But I had to agree - the map said "N" was next, and when we pulled up I saw the sign for "N" and we ran for it. We had a ways to go, and an elevator ride, and then another hike to the end of the terminal - but we were in "N" country, and we could finally pee. I found a family bathroom, opened the door and ran inside. I was peeing before the door even swung shut behind me, so desperate was my race to beat the forces of nature.

A moment later, I pulled the door open and found my two children standing frozen, rooted to the spot where I had dropped the carryons and let the stroller roll into the wall. "Mom" Lucy asked "where's the gate?"

Ah. I had broken the "gate first" rule. Their world was rocked by my departure from our agreed-upon plan. "It's right around the corner!" I tried to sound confident as I began to edge around the corner to take a peek.

And there was our gate.
And they were boarding the airplane.

There would be no time for a snack or a magazine. I turned drill sergeant, opening the bathroom door and directing them in and out, shouting instructions about flushing and hand washing while I gathered up the bags and rescued the stroller from the corner where it had come to rest. Thus relieved, we headed for the gate, bedraggled and hungry but victorious.

We had one more flight left on our itinerary.

One More Flight.

The dreaded red eye.

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