Arrived safe and sound at home. Hooray! For a while I wasn't sure we were even going to make it out of downtown Indianapolis safely, and it had nothing to do with terrorism alerts or airport security.
Chris and I picked up a cab from the Marriott and made the simple request that the driver make another stop a couple of blocks away at the Embassy Suites to pick up Evan before we all headed to the airport. The first thing I noticed when I got into the cab was the driver's personal shrine. Two photographs of his son wedged behind the steering wheel (obscuring dashboard readouts like, oh, the speedometer) and a very faded air freshener of either Jesus or the Virgin Mary (besides the robes, halo, and spread hands, it was hard to see if the figure had a face, let alone a beard). He also had a book that looked from the cover like it could have been any fantasy novel but even before I noticed the air freshener my "used to shop in Christian bookstores" sense began to tingle. The novel was First Light
, the first book in the "AD Chronicles" and was on top of another large book that I was willing to lay money was a Bible. (Click over to authors Bodie & Brock Thoene's site
for a taste... make sure you have your sound on, it's worth it.) Our driver's spoken English was of the "Time you go home now?" variety but his comprehension seemed just fine. His attention span, on the other hand, not as good.
As the cab cruised past the Embassy Suites in the farthest lane (on a one-way street) with no sign of intending to stop there, Chris said, "Isn't that the Embassy Suites?" which prompted the driver to slam on the brakes, say "Jesus Christ!" and cut across four lanes of traffic. He came to a complete stop, put his emergency flashers on, and gestured traffic around him for a minute and then threw the cab into reverse and backed up for over half a block until he made it back to the Embassy Suites driveway. Jesus Christ indeed! We were treated to more of the same when he dropped us off at the airport as he blew past the sign for Frontier. He realized this and backed up for a while again, but not all the way to the actual drop off. "You go here, just a little way," he said, leaving us to struggle through the crowded check-in area. It turned out that "just a little way" was code for "the other side of the frickin' airport" and Chris cursed the whole way as he struggled to control his suitcase, which the TSA folks had made partially inoperable on the inbound flight. Woo, off to a good start!
Checking in wasn't nearly as painful as it could have been and we found ourselves at the airport with hours to spare. Finally, we boarded the plane for the first leg of the flight and were seated together in row 19. Row 20 (both sides of the aisle) was filled with small children. I initially worried that the baby would be the biggest problem, but the baby slept and the small child behind me calmed down and watched Ice Age or something the whole way. The spawn of Satan on the other side of the aisle and closest to Pramas were a completely different story. Suffice to say they didn't stop their demonic howling, whining, and tantrum throwing for the entire flight. Even through earplugs you could hear them, for THE WHOLE FLIGHT. Imagine my horror when Evan and Chris told me they were going to be on the next leg of the flight as well. "NO!" I said. "Oh yeah, they're headed to Seattle, I heard the mom say it." Looking at our tickets, I could see we were in the same row on the next flight and I quickly deduced that if we didn't take drastic action right away we were going to be seated in front of them the whole way. I led the charge to the gate in the hope that we could change our seat assignments before it was too late.
The young woman at the gate was nice enough about it. She told us she didn't have seats together, but if we'd all be willing to sit in middle seats she could accommodate us. We jumped at the chance and gave her our profuse thanks, then went to get something to eat and drink. On my way back to the gate area, sure enough, there they were: mom pushing an empty stroller passively ignoring her little darlings as they ran the wrong way down the moving walkway yelling, "Look! Look!" Once they got to the gate area they were like monkeys on crack, climbing on everything and screeching. At one point the two of them were both climbing on and into the "Your bag must fit in this space" gauge near the jet way, causing the stewardesses to firmly demand the mother pay attention to them and perhaps, you know, get them on the plane before they hurt themselves. As we boarded the young woman we'd spoken to earlier was taking boarding passes so Chris said, "You see what we mean..." Her response of "Oh. My. God." says it all. She did, indeed, see what we meant. Once the plane was boarded and we were trying to push back from the airline, twice someone in the back of the plane had to be told to sit the hell down so we could leave. I wonder who that could have been...
The second half of the trip home was bliss, heavenly bliss. Without further ado we made it safely to Seattle where Rona was nice enough to pick us up and give us a ride home (saving us from having to face yet another potentially crazy cab driver or Shuttle Express incident). Tomorrow it's jury duty for me but today it's all about being home sweet home.