US Scareways

12 Jun

**THIS REALLY HAPPENED. 

The airport in Baltimore is moderately standard. It boasts many of the same attractions that other airports across the US offer. Such as:

  • Gourmet-priced food with a fast food quality.
  • Stoic security guards awaiting their opportunity to shine in case they witness a random package exchange between frequent flyers (which generally consists of them sitting around various parts of the airport on their Smartphone).
  • Luggage carousels.

However, I read somewhere (a Paranormal Activity 2 DVD case) that darkness looms everywhere…

The most intimidating and terrifying part of the Baltimore/Washington airport is the 5-foot 5-inch gate 24D keeper, known by many as Michelle H

My day started off normally. I woke up from my friends’ couch. It was pouring rain. I checked in online for my flight. With my luggage in tow, I was breezing through security with my new friend, Jordan. It seemed as though things were going to work out. We were playfully bantering, checking our phones, people watching, and sharing a McDonalds Happy Meal (we each got our own). 

Just as we were saying our goodbyes, I was getting in line for my appropriate gate…24D. The short-statured woman was doing her thing, scanning everyone’s tickets and telling them to have a good flight…Until it was my turn to board the plane…

Michelle H. took one look at my rolling suitcase, and I swear to God that her pupils went from normal to volcanoes erupting with demons and evil. A vein on her head started pulsating, and her fists snarled into a clench that could strangle a fucking gorilla. I tried my hardest to act natural… Which still resulted in my heart racing out of my chest, my armpits pouring perspiration right through my shirt- a treat for the lucky one to sit by me. I had no idea what I was in for until she took one large breath to spray these words:

“YOU. WILL. NOT. BE. TAKING. THAT. BAG. ON. THIS. PLANE. TODAY.”

I was confused and relieved that this is what her anger was about. I calmly respond:

“Oh, okay. So, it’s too big? I can check it, not a problem.”

For some reason, Michelle H. was still livid. 

“YOU NEED TO GO OVER TO THE OTHER COUNTER, AND CHECK THAT BAG. IT IS TOO BIG. YOU’RE GONNA HAVE TO PAY.”

She was shaking her head. I was mortified, especially in front of my fellow Zone 3’ers. I looked like the group member in college who was supposed to make the PowerPoint, but partied the night before instead. I approached the second recommended counter, to check my bag. The other airline associate (the less memorable one) said:

“Uh-uh, you check it at the gate. Not here.” 

I was confused. I wasn’t sure that it was possible to be sent on a wild goose chase within 20 feet of the airline gate. I wheeled my way back over to the gate, as Zone 4 was boarding. I felt everyone staring at me, wondering what Michelle H. would need to say next…

She saw me coming. I felt like Regina George in Mean Girls when she was being denied by Gretchen Wieners…

“YOU CANNOT BOARD WITH THAT”

My thoughts were interrupted. Michelle H. was furiously shaking her head at me; her tone was full of frustration and angst for my oversized bag. Her hair was starting to get out of place from her head shaking so much.

“I tried to check it over there, but the woman at that counter sent me over here…”

Michelle H: (Still shaking her head, pursing her lips) “Your bag will not fit on the plane, YOU HAVE TO CHECK IT.” 

Her tone then changed to syrupy sweet as she announced:

“Ladies and gentlemen, the overhead cabin space on flight 1440 en route to Charlotte is now full, and any remaining carry-on luggage must be checked.”

Kaylee: “I understand, ma’am…But now everyone has to check their bags, so I’m back here to-“

Michelle H: “TECHNICALLY, I SHOULD BE SENDING YOU BACK TO THE TICKETING COUNTER.”

In the meantime, all of zone 4 is at a stop, staring. The man at the front of the line offers to let me go in front of him. 

Michelle H: “NO, SIR, SHE HAS TO WAIT TO CHECK HER BAG.”

Man: “Why? There’s no difference…” 

Michelle H.: *Points at me* “With her? Yes there is, sir.”

I look at the man like a toddler getting punished by a stranger. So I wait. Every single passenger is staring at me with looks full of pity. Their potential thoughts raced though my head:

“She should’ve just checked her bag…She’ll never get married.”

“Good God, that bag is rather large. Her career is over.”

“That is the ugliest bag I have seen in a while, you know what they say; Ugly bag, ugly soul.”

Finally, the last person boarded. I have to face Michelle H. with my “ridiculously large suitcase”. “Ego” by Beyonce is playing in my head, except its being sung by Sarah McLaughlin, crying. She prints off my bag destination indicator, and I board the plane, walking sadly, while “Charlie Brown: Christmas Time is Here” is playing softly in my head. 

THIS REALLY HAPPENED. I have never in my life been so humiliated. I was the absolute last person to board the plane; I was approached by five people, asking me how I convinced Michelle H. to let me on the plane. I sat my perspired self into my seat and relaxed. 

It turns out that there were literally tornados touching down in Charlotte, so I had to reschedule my flight for the next day.

…The following day, I spent the entire time at gate 26D, avoiding eye contact and conversation with Michelle H. … My ticket checker. 

 

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