One of the more famous “Seinfeld” episodes is when Elaine is driving someone to the airport. She starts to recount her adventure and how there had been no traffic and she was weaving quickly to her destination and then she gets to the Van Wyck and no movement occurs.
I think the person she was driving missed her flight, but all I can remember about the episode is her yelling, “The Van Wyck, the Van Wyck. Nobody beats the Van Wyck!” That gosh darn Van Wyck Expressway. Why is it called an expressway? There is nothing express about it!
Well, Van Wyck aside, the other day I had an airport pickup to attend to. My friends were coming in from Chicago for a simcha and I told them that I would pick them up. Because friends do that for friends, and every time I am in Chicago they pick me up. I was happy to return the favor. So about two weeks ago, she told me which airport and when her flight was coming in, and we were good to go. I put it down on my kitchen calendar, on the calendar near the laundry room, and in my handy dandy filofax next to my bed. No electronic reminders for me! (Mostly because I have no idea how to put things in my phone.)
The day of the pickup comes. I told her to call me when she lands and then I would leave for the airport. The phone rings and it is her. She told me that her son was on crutches and her daughter had been throwing up the whole flight because she had strep. I was still eager and happy to see them. I leave my house, tell her I will be there in 25 minutes, and off to Newark I go. I get to Newark, and I think she is at terminal A. I drive around terminal A. No friends. I call her and she says she thinks she is at terminal B. I drive around terminal B and I don’t see her. I call her again. “Where are you?” Her response, “Um, what airport are you at?” You see where this is going. I was at Newark and she was at LaGuardia. With her throwing-up daughter and her son on crutches and four pieces of heavy luggage and a husband who was back in Chicago, who wasn’t coming until the next day.
Oops. I offered to pay for the Uber, but she said no. And I am writing this after I have just gotten back from dropping them off at LaGuardia, so, hopefully, I have made amends.
I could have sworn that she told me that she was landing in Newark, but, ultimately, it was my fault because she did send me her flight information. Unfortunately, I just looked at the time the flight was arriving and not the airport. (Note to self, always look at the airport because it doesn’t matter what time they get in, if you are at the wrong airport, you cannot pick them up.) All’s well that ends well. (And she brought me chopped liver and salami from Romanian deli in Chicago, which she still gave me, even though I didn’t pick her up. Now that is a good friend!)
But this also reminded me of the time when husband #1 and I were flying home from somewhere and we had parked the car at one airport. The weather was bad and the pilot came on and said we were landing at another airport, so I had called my dad, woke him up, and asked him if he could pick us up at the new airport and take us to our car at the other airport. He, grumpily, said yes. A few minutes later, the pilot announced that we were going to land in the original airport, so I had to call my dad again, who, of course, had fallen back asleep in those few minutes, to tell him that he didn’t have to pick us up at all.
Airport pickups, there is just something about them. When they go smoothly, they are a blessing and when the Van Wyck is involved, perhaps, not so much.
Safe travels to all.
Banji Ganchrow is counting down until son #2 gets off the plane from Israel. Hopefully, there won’t be a column about how he pulled off staying even longer. Dear Lord….