After a few days of non-stop rain and chilly temperatures, Sunday was shaping up to be a beauty. We decided to take a first time drive to Belmont to visit a botanical garden that I had Groupon tickets for that were about to expire. Surprisingly, our daughter (who is staying with us in Charlotte over summer break) was pretty excited to go.
The drive was a bit longer, but the gardens much more beautiful, than we expected. After getting in our ten thousand steps we grabbed a bite to eat in the small town and strolled through an eclectic antique mall. Belmont is a sweet little place that feels as if it’s developing a second life with new shops, restaurants and craft beer places coming online. It was definitely a worthwhile way to spend a sunny afternoon…
and then we drove home.
As we were idling at a light just outside of the “city limits,” waiting to make a left turn, my husband suddenly insisted I take a right instead. “Why?” I asked, the car’s navigation system was directing me to go left. “I trust my phone” he said, impatiently lifting it up for me to see, “I’m telling you what it says, make a right!”
So make a right I did, and sure enough it was a quicker route home- in theory.
You see as we approached a major intersection about ten minutes later near the airport, my husband told me to make another right onto blah blah street..(I can’t remember the name.) “This isn’t blah blah street” I quickly blurted out as soon as I saw the sign. “Take it anyway!” my husband insisted..and so once again- I did.
I have been married to my sweet lamb-chop for almost 33 years, and in that time we have had our share of traveling mishaps. We have gotten lost in the “hood,” driven miles in the wrong direction, made U-turns in dark allies and argued like crazy people over directions- but what happened next was truly a first.
As I made the right onto the street that wasn’t the street we were supposed to turn onto, I noticed right away that the signs ahead were all blue; not green. The second thing I noticed was that the first sign we drove past said “long term parking.” The third thing I noticed was that a major traffic jam was waiting for us further down the road. A plane roared overhead, and then I saw them..the signs for arrivals and departures.
Yes, ohhh yes indeedy. We had driven right into the belly of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport on a busy late Sunday afternoon and yup..we had just passed the only exit outta there.
“Arrivals or departures??” I called out to my navigator. He was staring out the window in stunned disbelief at the terrible mistake “we” had just made.. But there was no time for emotion, contemplation or regret, we were mere minutes away from one of two combat zones- “HEY NAVIGATOR! – Arrivals or departures???!!!”
We chose departures, cause that just sounded better than arrivals, and spent about 15 solid minutes in stop and go hell as we inched our way through the drop off area. Whistles were blowing, cops were flailing their arms like windmills, drivers were beeping..and my goodness, were we laughing..me and my daughter that is. My hubbie, the navigator, was too busy criticizing passenger drop off techniques, the traffic cops, the designers of the airport, hotel shuttle services, i-phones, goggle maps, people who take too long to say goodbye, people who travel with too much luggage.. you know, classic male blame transference- I think that’s an actual psychological term..I’m NOT even kidding.
“Good thing I’m not driving” he muttered, “I’d be blowing my horn like crazy.”
“Yeah” I thought to myself.. but if you were driving and I was in charge of directions, we wouldn’t have taken the scenic route….THROUGH THE AIRPORT!!! But I couldn’t be too harsh with my man..after all..I may have had to muddle my way through multiple lanes of traffic because of him, but he had just muddled his way through multiple displays of flowers because of me.