I’ve traveled quite a bit the past few years and this summer has been no exception with a fair mix of both flying and driving. Normally I like to think that I’ve become a fairly competent human at navigating the labyrinths that airports can often present, but Charlotte Int’l threw me for a loop last week. Here’s what I wrote on it:
That weird moment when you’re in the Charlotte Int’l airport, stuck for a three hour layover?
Not weird, you would think, until you realize your gate does not exist.
You cock your head to the side like your dog does when he doesn’t understand why you’re staring at him when you think you have a psychic, heartfelt connection and he doesn’t know what any of those words mean. You pace up and down between gates 16, 17, 12, 19, and 10 trying to figure out what logic there is to this organization of gates. Was the architect of this airport on crack-cocaine? Or just bizarrely mischievous? Why is gate 11 not between 10 and 12? A small, childish part of your mind that grows larger as you continue to pace vaguely wonders if your flight from Charlotte to Salt Lake City is actually a magic portal, or maybe the gate only appears when the sun’s at a certain angle. MAYBE IT’S LIKE PLATFORM 9&3/4. You realize that generally running headfirst into columns in the middle of several busy gates is not the most logical decision you could publicly make, so instead you just walk quickly over to it and heavily lean into it with your hand while sort half stretching your other arm out since you can’t decide whether to look like you’re stretching or relaxing momentarily in between catching flights like the cool, nonchalant, not neurotic traveler you are. . . not. When you don’t magically fall through into a fancier, magical terminal that doesn’t look like it was designed in 1978 you realize that A. you’ve indulged your crazy too much and/or B. you were supposed to run into the column.
B. Is not an option but you’re delusional and desperate at this point to find the correct gate. You skip the running bit and check the departure screens in the tiny hope that maybe you’ll be leaving from a gate that actually exists, but no, it’s still the taunting, non-existent gate 11. You’ve already checked the mockingly friendly arrows on the signs that are supposed to direct you to your needed gate seventeen times, but you check for the eighteenth time hoping against hope that you’re just a blind idiot and maybe gate 11 has been right next to you the whole time.
Finally you decided to walk further down the rows of small eateries and further gates whe- WHAT THE DUMP GATE ELEVEN, YOU UNTRUSTWORTHY SWINE, WHY ARE YOU ACROSS FROM GATE SEVEN 80 YARDS AWAY FROM THE NEAREST LOGICAL LOCATION FOR YOU?
Then you type up an awkwardly long description of your illogical confusion when you grumpily but gratefully sit down after realizing that odd numbered gates were on the right and even numbered gates were on the left, thrown out of whack by the restaurants randomly inserted between gates.
I should not be allowed to be an adult.
Good news is I only have two hours left till I board my next flight.