Today is the beginning of our Japanese adventure. Unfortunately our adventure begins early.
3am: We arrive at SFO for our 5am departure to Tokyo via Chicago. (Bags: 50-, 49.5- and 45-lbs. I am an awesome packer, thank you very much.) 3:15am: we are checked-in and ready to go through the security line. 4am: TSA opens security line. Thank you, TSA for being slackers. To be fair, they did arrive at 3:30 for their early-morning briefing—which lasted almost 30 min! What did they talk about for so long? It is a Tuesday, so it’s a bit late to catch up on everyone’s weekend. Anyway, we get through the line a little after four.
The morning is getting better though, as I thank god I am not behind the woman with the two little kids in line. The little boy (around 2 or so) is not happy to give up his Thomas the Train backpack and proceeds to scream while refusing to relinquish said backpack. He is also NOT happy about walking through the scary x-ray gate so he continues to scream—in a different octave, and a bit louder. As he clings to his mother and refuses to budge I reiterate: thank god I am in front of him.
After grabbing a coffee and bottled water we sit down to wait for boarding. I hope to have at least a good half hour to wait so I can start watching the latest Walking Dead episode. I’ve been trying to find the time to watch it over the last couple of days with no luck. It’s going to be good since they’re going to find out Glenn is dead (Sorry. Spoiler alert.) I start it, but The Professor tries to have a conversation and I shut it off when he gives me his disgusted-at-my-zombie-obsession look. And, for once, American is ready for us and we are loaded up way too quickly.
Speedily sitting down in my aisle seat I open my laptop hoping to watch a bit more before taking off. A few minutes further into the episode, Mr. Window Seat shows up causing a disruption. A few minutes after he is situated, Miss Middle Seat shows up—with a baby! Great. A 3½-hour flight to Chicago squeezed in next to a woman holding a baby on her lap is really the perfect way to start any great adventure. Hope your baby likes to watch zombies getting their heads creamed ‘cause that’s what I’m preparing to watch, ma’am. While the baby busily reaches for my screen I glance back to see The Professor comfortably sitting in the adjacent aisle seat behind me in an empty row. He smiles and waves. Even better.
Suddenly I realize that the passengers are done filing in and there are actual empty seats left (it DOES pay to fly at 5am)! And The Professor still has his aisle to himself. Guess who gets a seatmate? I quickly move in and my morning is saved.
We are now safely on our way sans baby. Sadly, however, I am not able to continue my episode of The Walking Dead. I decide I must not needlessly spend since I have no immediate income and will soon have to beg yen off The Professor for my spending money—and I refuse to pay the six dollars for the puny 30 minutes of in-sky Internet. Hello, TWD is 60-minutes long! American doesn’t mention this Highway Robbery anywhere in their American Way magazine. I sit back and try to be patient.
ORD here we come—the land of layovers and missed connections. For once I’m hoping for a little delay so I can finish the episode. What will Maggie do when she finds out about Glenn? The question just keeps gnawing at me.
(To all the family and friends we saw and also to those we didn’t have a chance to see, we love and miss you already!)