Thursday, February 16, 2012

"I just had to see your face . . . "

You know, I used to be one of those people that never, ever got sick. I would watch people fall all around me and I would just keep on trucking. Heck, after more than a decade of active duty army service, my entire medical file wasn’t more than a few dozen pages thick. Well, all of that has apparently changed, because I am now sick far more often than not. I suspect that it is both – my school age daughter bringing things home from school with her, and my own time spent in airports and airplanes that are doing me in.  On my flight home Saturday, there was a woman across the aisle from me who was hacking up a lung the entire two and a half hour flight from Charlotte to Austin, and I’d have to admit that I had to talk myself out of killing her with each and every cough that she let loose. Sure enough, by the time Tuesday rolled around and I had to be back on an airplane, I was the one doing the coughing and feeling guilty every time someone gave me the same look that I had no doubt been giving that woman.
The next day was a LOOONNGGGG work day for me, but since it ended in success, I was pretty pleased with it. This time I was working in Dearborn MI, with one of my very favorite customers. She had been one of the very first customers that I had traveled to solo to work on our FTIR, and that first time so many years ago she had known far more about FTIR, and my company’s instruments, than I did. That could have been awkward, but since she turned out to be such a wonderful person, it wound up being a great first service call and in the years since then, I have come to think of her as a friend. Well, this time she had three instruments that she wanted me to take care of, and that is pushing it hard for one days work, and so I ended up getting there at 8AM, working through lunch and dinner, and then working until 730PM at night on an instrument with an intermittent problem. Right up to the end it looked like I wasn’t going to find the root cause, but in the last twenty minutes or so, I got it figured out, problem solved, and one of our best customers thrilled
When Thursday rolled around and it was time to head for home, I sat there in my hotel trying to decide if I should fly pretty or not. My cold is still alive and well, but at least it is only an isolated cough and not a runny nose or anything like that. I still didn’t feel so hot, but had spent Tuesday’s flight feeling sorry for myself and jealous of many of the women I had seen in the airports, and I really didn’t want to repeat the experience – fly pretty it is!

Going through the Detroit TSA inspection point, I noticed that everyone seemed to be ignoring the
x-ray machine at the far end. Four or five machines had a line of like ten people in front of them, and the line at the far end only had four, so I made my way to it. Once I got my stuff up onto the belt and was waiting for my chance to go through the metal detector and body scanner, I found myself chatting with the female TSA agent there.
“So how are you this morning?” I asked her.
“I’m fine thank you! You fly a lot don’t you?” She replied.
“I do fly a lot!” I responded with a laugh.
“Yeah, I thought so. I’ve seen you going through here quite a bit. What do you do that keeps you flying so much?”
“I’m a field service engineer.”
“What’s that? So what do you do?”
“Well, when my company sells something, I go install it and train the customer on it, and when and if it breaks, I go fix it!”
“Well that sounds pretty neat!” she said.
“It is, and it pays the bills, so it’s kind of a win-win.” I replied with a wink. Next it was my turn to go through the scanner so I stepped into it, held my arms up, and exited when they told me to.
“Wait here.” Said another female TSA agent with her hand up to stop me. I just grinned at her.
“I pretty much always get a personal inspection at this point.” I told her with a wink.
“Ok, you’re free to go.” She told me, with no inspection and not the slightest sign of a smile.
“Well I’ll be damned! Thank you.” I told her, and then made my way to the outlet of the x-ray machine where I grabbed my things. Rather than stand at the crowded belt trying to put all of my things away and put my shoes back on while standing, I usually just grab the bin with my things and go find a chair to sit in and get it done comfortably. I was doing just this when I noticed the older man sitting next to me looking at his ticket and then around the airport with a look of panic and confusion. He noticed my looking at him and spoke to me.
“Are you going to Philadelphia?”
“No sir, but I do fly an awful lot. Is there something that I can help you with?”
“I’m going to Philadelphia but I have no idea where to wait.” He replied with a most confused look on his face.
“May I see your ticket? It will usually tell you where you need to go.” I asked, and he handed it to me.
“OK, your gate is D26.” He still had a confused look so I tried to clarify things for him by pointing at the sign for a gate next to us.
“Do you see that sign that says ‘D19’ there?” I asked him.
“Yes, is that where I wait?”
“No sir, but your gate will have a sign just like that one, but it will say ‘D26’ instead.”
“Oh! I understand. Thank you so much!” He told me with a look of utter relief on his face. It turned out that my own gate was right next to his, so when I later saw him slowly walking down the terminal I once again spoke to him.
“Got it all figured out now?” I asked with a smile.
“I do, thank you. I’ll get there sooner or later!” he replied with a grin and continued to slowly make his way down the terminal. As I continued down the terminal myself, a woman a little older than I was was walking by, and she slowed to walk along side of me.
“You know I just had to see your face!” she told me with a grin. “Every single guy that has walked by you has turned to get a second look.”
“Oh my God, is that good or bad?” I told her with a laugh.
“Oh, it’s good all right.” She said with a mischievous grin. “I just love your shoes!”
“Well thank you!” I told her, feeling more than a bit embarrassed.
“You’re welcome.” She said, and as she started to walk away from me she turned to speak one more time. “You know, I was young once.” And then let loose a loud sigh . . .
‘I hear you sister, believe me, I hear you ‘ I thought to myself as we parted ways.


  1. Worst time for me is when I decided to bring my dialators with me when I flew to San Diego to visit my parents. Got sent to secondary at KSAN and the TSA agent has me open my bag and points right to my dialator set. What are these he asks. So I tell him they're vaginal stints, as soon as the word vagina came up he says your okay to go. I guess next time I'll put them in my checked luggage.

  2. Most women would pay good money for second looks! And you rate them, hottie!

    Love that outfit!

  3. WOW sounds like a fun time other then b eing sick. I have always wondered what it would be like to fly as Susan. Maybe someday I will get the chance.
    Great postn and you look awesome in that outfit!

  4. Now, aren't you glad you went with "Fly Pretty" Kim? As always you look wonderful, and yeah, I love your shoes too. ;)

  5. Yea, well worth a second look, very nice outfit, great shoes, good legs - I expect you would have got a few third and forth looks as well without wifes and manners.

  6. A kind deed always gets a reward, sweetie. You are a true lady, or as my Great Aunt Mae used to call herself, "A tremendously classy broad."

  7. You look absolutely fabulous, and wonder how you're able to keep guys from hitting on you! I been look at your flickr account and I don't think there a place in U.S.A. you haven't been near or close to!! I guess you've even been near me in Colo. I love you photo's as you allway have such a cute, sweet smile. I hope your travels continue to be exciting as you explore the few place left in America you may have miss :-) Hugs Karen

  8. just HOW DO YOU DO IT? even with a miserable cold you look FABULOUS!
    no wonder every guy in the airport checked you out! with legs that look like that and the great figure it's no wonder they weren't following you to invite you for coffee.

  9. I keep telling people, over and over, but no one wants to hear it - my photo's are misleading. Other than cropping them, I dont edit them, so I dont know why, but it seems that the camera kind of likes me. In my opinion, my photo's look better than I really do in person. The funny thing is, when I was younger I had the opposite problem - I would head out the door thinking that I looked great, and when I saw photos later I was horrified. These days I head out the door feeling horrified and then see the photos and think "Damn, that looks a lot better than I thought I did!"

  10. "Oh it's good alright"... word you must have enjoyed!
    Yep, I clicked on this link because I love this picture of you... I guess camera works for ya. Hoping you're well as the warmer weather is here. So nice of ya to help everyone...funny story!
    Sara Elise