Momma went away. Momma went away without the kids, without the husband. Momma almost went away without the plane (or rather, vice versa), but I didn manage to make it to the gate on time nevertheless.
It’s not like I’d never traveled before, like I’d never been to Newark Airport. Excuse me, “Newark Liberty International Airport.” And yet, there I was, missing my turn for the off-site parking lot and heading toward Port Newark, which would have been handy only if I was planning to board a petroleum tanker. But they don’t sail to Kansas City, and that’s where I was trying to go last week.
Somehow, I stumbled upon the Economy Parking lot at the airport, and so I parked there despite having reserved a spot in the other lot for $11, all the while hoping my car would still be there, looking out over the New Jersey Turnpike, when I was to return four days later.
I hopped a shuttle bus over to Terminal C — Terminal C, which has been the Continental Airlines terminal for as long as I can remember, since before Newark Airport added the “Liberty” and the “International.”
But no. My flight had been switched to Terminal A. So I tipped the baggage guy to get my suitcase to the right place, even though I’d already paid 20 bucks to put my suitcase on the plane, ran to the monorail and headed over to Terminal A, where I soon found out from the bemused security lady, I’d printed out the wrong boarding pass or some such thing. It was as though I’d never been on “no aeroplane before.”
When I finally got the right boarding pass, I breezed through Security, which had been a mob scene over in Terminal C, and managed to snag the last oatmeal at the Starbucks, much to the chagrin of the lady behind me, who complained about it to me. “I’d been waiting in line just for the oatmeal,” she whined. I scowled back and said, “Mmmm, this oatmeal sure is good!” Ah, New Jersey. I love ya.
In Kansas City, my publicist and dear friend Robin picked me up at the airport, which was pretty much empty except for the folks selling cow-tipping T-shirts in the MSNBC store.
I noticed that the highway signs were for cities that were many, many miles away. I mean, Wichita is some four hours west of Kansas City. After four hours of driving from home in Jersey, I could be in Boston or Baltimore, by way of Hartford, Provincetown or Philadelphia, not to mention the Jersey Shore (the place, not the show), Amish country and, oh yeah, New York City. I’m not use to things being so spread out.
“Isn’t there anything of note between here and Wichita?” I asked my old high school boyfriend who lives in Kansas City.
What? Oh that. Yes, a lot of people were surprised that I had dinner with my high school sweetheart, a reaction that the two of us both found confusing and a tad amusing. We hadn’t seen each other in a quarter century or so, and we caught up on life since then, a meeting made possible by Facebook.
No, our spouses didn’t mind, and no, we didn’t ditch our 18-year marriages, children and careers to run off with each other like some Lifetime movie or a Danielle Steele novel. Rather, I suppose that we both remembered why we liked each other and why we didn’t marry each other. And no, I have no pictures, but we’re both holding up well.
Anyhow, Robin kept me hopping the whole weekend. I took a tour of ReDiscover, a large nonprofit mental health facility with several locations in and around Kansas City. I’ll be doing some work with them, so I got to meet some of the wonderful people who work there to help moms, among others. I met Regina, who showed me around The Friendship House and Catherine’s Place, a rehabilitation facility for women in need and their children which is part of ReDiscover. I told her I was going to make this my Christmas card:
The next day, I had the great fortune to speak about social media at the Central Exchange, “Kansas City’s premier organization providing leadership development opportunities for women.” I talked about using “all that Twitter stuff,” and the businesswomen in the audience asked wonderful questions. There was a lot of mutual admiration in the room, and they told me they got a lot out of my presentation, which was very cool because they looked like they had plenty other things to do that day.
Robin and I worked a lot:
And we played a lot:
And after all that, my car was right where I’d left it.