AWE2021 Day 1: How We Almost Missed Our Flight & Became Just The Worst Passengers Ever…

We are finally back home and rested enough to begin recounting our recent adventure across the country to the 2021 Augmented World Expo in San Jose, California. However before we get into stories from the expo itself I really wanted to share this story from our initial trip out there. We had a little situation happen which might give you a good chuckle!

So Christi and I had to fly across the entire country from North Carolina to California to attend this expo. As it happens, we had a layover about halfway with just over an hour in between landing and boarding, and we were quite hungry. Luckily we found a Chili’s airport restaurant near the entrance to our terminal. So we sat down, ordered a couple sodas with some chips and salsa to start, and took a few minutes to look over the menu.

We both decided to start our trip out right with some healthier options and opted for fresh sandwiches with steamed broccoli instead of fries. Nice! With the orders placed, we waited patiently. The chips arrived timely though a tad on the stale side, however I had no plans of complaining as they were going to be free due to an ongoing marketing promotion. Hmm maybe that was why.

Time moved on and on and on and our sandwiches had yet to come when Christi realized our flight was set to leave the ground in roughly 15 minutes which meant they were probably boarding already! We asked the server to just wrap our sandwiches to go and handed her our cards. She was sweet enough but dreadfully slow so when we finally got our bagged meals we made a mad dash to our gate. Only we had slightly miscalculated the distance and our gate was at the far end of the terminal, past about 10 other gates.

The two of us were blazing down the hallway past crowd after crowd until about halfway when I began to lose some serious steam. After all I was wearing a jacket and a bookbag full of snacks and electronics while pulling two carry-on rolling suitcases. To be fair I am also very out of shape after my long pandemic hibernation. Meanwhile Christi, in all her spry glory, had continued ahead with her single pull-behind rolling laptop case and made it just in time to see the boarding attendant walking away! Thankfully we were not too late as I came huffing and puffing up moments later, practically dripping sweat.

We boarded and began the very long journey to our seats wayyyyy at the back, past literally every other passenger who, just prior to our arrival, had all been alerted to our epic tardiness. As we headed toward our row, I managed to squeeze our bags into some remaining crevices along the way and we plopped down next to our seat mate who at least had the window seat which made that part easier. “Glad you made it!” she remaked. “Us too!”

Now that we were secure it was time to relax, but wait… what is that smell? Oh right… only two piping hot orders of fresh steamed broccoli that we, in our haste to make our flight, did not think to, oh I don’t know, politely discard before boarding a tiny sealed tube full of olfactory systems for the next 2 hours. On top of that major infraction I looked quite a hot mess all sweaty from my prior unexpected distance sprinting and coughing up a storm because I was out of breath due to my afore mentioned need of reshaping. Exactly the kind of thing you want happening right next to you on an airplane during a pandemic. We were two for two!

Thankfully some quick thinking prevailed and we used Christi’s leather jacket to smother the food bags tightly which did indeed help to contain about 95% of the smell. It was still barely there but certainly nowhere near as intense as before. This did, however, leave her jacket with a delightful residual fragrance which she would eventually have to wash off later. Meanwhile I’m pretty sure our seatmate was just thrilled with our arrival overall. I could tell because she politely excused herself to go to the restroom and literally never returned for the remainder of the flight. Well at least now I had a seat for our stinky little package.

I had a brief moment of concern at one point that she’d passed out in the bathroom due to inhaling too much broccoli fumes but she did eventually return to reclaim her bag once we’d landed so I was reassured that she likely just switched seats. We exited the plane with a final polite glare from the flight attendants and made our way to the pickup zone where a black top-down mustang convertable awaited our arrival. Note that it was about 62 degrees and mostly cloudy out and our destination was like 20 minutes away so I volunteered to ride in the back and by the time we arrived in San Jose at our AirBnB my head was basically a frozen rat’s nest. I did get to eat my sandwich on the way, however!

So that’s how we started our aventure! There are some good expo-related stories coming but I thought this would be quite a fun one to kick these off with. Stay tuned for more Tales of Interest!