Saturday, March 28, 2009

Seattle Girl's Weekend, 2009

It all began at 5:30 am at Newark International, February 11th, 2009. I'd purchased a non-stop ticket on Alaska Airlines. I always get in to Seattle at 11am PacTime. By noon we're always at Hill Top Ale House.

I cherish this ritual.

When I arrived at the terminal, I went eagerly to the Departures Screen and scanned it for my flight.

USAIR...Flight 1009...SeaTac...Gate 17...Departing 0700...Terminal A
USAIR...Flight 100987...SeaTac...Gate 184...Departing 0701...Terminal M
USAIR...Flight 10098786...SeaTac...Gate 1,947...Departing 0702...Terminal Y
USAIR...Flight 666...Anyone'sGuess...Gate Pi...Departing Never...Terminal Hell

No Alaska Airlines listing. Nada. Zip. Maybe I got off at the wrong terminal. I go outside and check the signs along the Unloading Zone. Sure enough, Alaska Airlines. Go back inside, follow the All Gates arrow while checking every single Departures Screen along the way. No posters, no brochures. Absolutely no indication whatsoever that Alaska Airlines even exists. I check my boarding pass. Yup. Yup. Alaska Airlines.

The TSA Agent assures me I made the right choice by going through his line. But I'm suspicious. Maybe he's a little bored this morning and wants to taunt someone into flipping out. It happens.

I get to the tiny rotunda of gates. There are some small, but significant, signs of life -- a coffee cart, a handful of snorers. Yet, a quick glance around confirms that I'm still deep in USAIR territory...

but wait...a sheet of looseleaf paper taped over a sign at the ticket desk. There's writing on it. Warily, I move closer. The writing says: Alaska Airlines.

Relief washes over me. But where are the planes? I look around at the smattering of people already there. Do they look like eccentric Northwesterners? I'm inspecting for clues when a 200 pound rottweiler bounds over and lays down across from me.

Two men and two women follow him in and sit down. I make eye contact with one of the men. "Does he get his own seat?"

The man smiles and says, "No. He squishes down on the floor."

I nod and glance away as if this happens every day.

A pug trots by.

A woman passes, carrying a little tote. There's something white, fluffy and alive inside.

Yup. Yup. I'm in the right place.

The flight starts boarding. From behind, a wave of tawny hair prances to the front of the line. An Afghan Hound. By now I'm texting the children, and my best girl Megan.

"The rottie snagged a window seat!" I write, to gales of texting laughter. "Must be the Westminster Dog Show," Meg shoots back. Turns out, she's right.

When I finally get to my seat assignment, it's next to a teen plugged into his iPod. Smart guy, I think. This might be a noisy flight. But I was wrong. You could hear a pin drop around these dogs. I snuggle in. There's an empty seat between me and my mate, I got an aisle to stretch my legs. What could be better?

A Giant Schnauzer makes a last minute run for his seat. The doors are sealed.

My teenmate starts singing...


More like howling if you ask me.

I frantically search for another open seat, and text Meg: "Fuck! Now I have to change seats. You know what happens when you change seats -- certain death in the inevitable crash. Fucking airplane singers!"

But we made it in one piece. At 10:45 am we soar over the Cascades under

The bluest skies you've ever seen
In Seattle
And the hills a-greenest green
In Seattle

Every year FabDame and I fight over credit for the first line of that song -- the theme to that old TV series, Here Come The Brides -- because every year we manage to choose the ONE sunny weekend that occurs in Seattle between October and May.

I cherish this ritual.

This year, because she chose the dates, and, of course, because I feel sorry for her because she was sick, I'll let her have credit. But don't tell her! And whatever you do, don't tell her that when I spotted that sparkling, snow-cap of hair in Baggage Claim, I could've fallen to my knees in gratitude.

This trip we did nothing but shop, eat and celebrate. Oh, and snap our yearly pic under the dragon at Uwajimaya.

I cherish this ritual. Here's to many, many more.

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Anonymous Bev Stephans said...

Where are the pictures of your Mom?

March 28, 2009 4:01 PM  
Blogger Ann Wesley Hardin said...

Jane only sent me this one pic. We didn't take too many this time around because we didn't really go anywhere noteworthy. I do think there's one of me and mom under the dragon, though.

Is there, Jane?

March 28, 2009 4:20 PM  
Anonymous jane/fabdame said...

I will check it out after work today. ~waving~ Hi Bev!

March 31, 2009 10:50 AM  

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