There weren’t even that many cars on the road, but I was hyperventilating. A quick glance at the map that my daughter had printed for me confirmed I was right where I was supposed to be.
Since I feel that my driving skills are not up to safely navigating traffic in Saint Paul, Minnesota, my daughter Tammie and I had made alternate plans to meet. A friend of hers, who lives in a suburb south of the big metropolis, said I could park my car in her yard while Tammie and I went on vacation.
Three and a half hours after leaving home, I finally pulled into the driveway with a sigh of relief. Tammie arrived several minutes later. She pulled up close so I could transfer the luggage from my car into hers. Then, content to allow my daughter to do the big city driving, I happily dropped into her passenger seat and snapped on my seatbelt.
Smiling at her, I said, “Just think! Tomorrow at this time, we’ll be in North Carolina!” We had bought tickets last February to fly out from the Saint Paul-Minneapolis airport to visit a friend who had moved to a small town near Raleigh. Trying to remember how Tammie planned to get us to the airport, I asked, “You said it wasn’t a good thing to leave a car in the airport parking lot for a week. So, how are we going to get there?”
The next morning, we left Tammie’s apartment bright and early. The sun was shining, but the air was very cool as I pulled my wheeled carry-on and suitcase one block to a bus stop. The lumbering vehicle pulled up and we got on. No one collected our bus tickets, but a few stops later a woman got on the bus and couldn’t produce a current ticket for the transit policeman. She did a pantomime of searching all pockets and throwing her hands into the air, then at the next stop, quietly got off.
We exited the bus at a train stop. While waiting for the train, a man and woman who were also waiting, got into a shouting match. Soon the train pulled up and we all got on. The shouting match continued. Next stop, the couple was left behind, still shouting and gesticulating.
At the airport, Tammie led me to a tram. We stepped on when the one we needed arrived. The vehicle made me think of a subway, as we seemed to travel in a tunnel and the doors automatically opened and shut at each destination. A soft, robotic woman’s voice kept admonishing, “Please stand clear of the doors. They are about to open.”
After the tram, we rode an elevator up one floor as Tammie said, “I don’t know if you can manage the cases on an escalator.” I said I could, so our next ride was on the moving stairs.
Checking in and security was anticlimactic. Neither my daughter nor I had to remove our shoes or pull out our small quart-sized bags filled with toiletries. A golf cart with seats fore and aft was parked nearby. As the airport worker was about to drive away, Tammie said to him, “We need a ride to gate C22, please!” I was glad she did. Our gate was completely on the other side of the airport!
Having had neither breakfast nor lunch, we bought coffee, tea and a cup of cheese cubes to eat while waiting to board the airplane. Enjoying the smooth, creamy cheese between sips of tea, I said to my daughter, “Do you realize how many modes of transportation we’ve utilized on this trip already? After we land in North Carolina, all that will be left to make this trip complete, will be a ride in a goat cart and side saddle over rough terrain on a yak!”
Tammie laughed and said, “I’ll see if I can arrange that!”