The Terminal

NOT my plane.

I’ve been living in Long Beach for five months and this is my first time flying out of Long Beach Airport. (I’ve been doing the 40-minute drive to LAX every time like an idiot.)

The Long Beach Airport is small. So small that I didn’t think it flew commercial airlines. But it does. On Steve’s last trip, he flew into LAX but flew out of Long Beach. He text me from the airport to let me know how amazing it is. So cute, charming,… and free wi-fi!

So now it’s December 23 and I’m flying to New York to spend Christmas with Steve and meet his entire extended family. I arrive at the airport super early because I’m hoping to do my lip sync here (I know, I couldn’t help myself. 100 Days of Lip Sync wasn’t enough! I decided to do 12 Days of Christmas Lip Sync with scenes from movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, it was down to the wire with Day 2: The Scrooged Speech).

The Uber drops me off in front (there’s only one terminal) and I wish my driver a Merry Christmas as he hands me my bag. It’s about 11:30am. My flight isn’t until after 3pm. I print my boarding pass and head towards TSA. You actually walk back outside first, where there is a large Christmas tree decorated to the max! With Christmas presents under it and everything. I love this airport!

I walk towards the automatic sliding doors to head inside. The line isn’t too long and before I know it, the friendly man working there calls me forward to check my ID and boarding pass. He sends me on my way. I pile my suitcase, shoes, laptop, etc., onto the table and slide my stuff through the conveyor belt. I googled whether or not I could bring wrapped presents on the plane with me. Of course, I can. It’s going through an X-ray, Lindsay. Wrapping paper isn’t going to hide anything. So, I have a bunch of wrapped presents in my suitcase. Mostly for Steve, but a couple for his parents and two little nephews.

Naturally, they pull my suitcase aside. A small woman, not much older than me, opens it. Baking chips immediately fall out – I shoved them in last. (I’m baking two batches of cookies tomorrow.) What’s left is basically clothes and wrapped presents.

I have no idea what she’s actually doing or checking for when she rubs what looks like a cotton square around some of the gifts. She stops at one. I immediately tell her. It’s lotion.

It’s my one gag gift for Steve. He’s gotten in the habit of using my face lotion whenever we’re together. So much so that he had me text him a picture of it so he could buy his own. I knew he hadn’t bought any yet, so I figured I’d get him a bottle. I travel with this lotion every single time I fly and I’ve NEVER been stopped. The bottle I travel with is 6oz. When I was at the store to buy it for Steve, I put down the 6oz bottle and grabbed the 4oz bottle instead – just in case.

She walks away from me, holding my tiny wrapped gift. Meanwhile, my own 6oz bottle sits hidden in my other bag, and no one cares about that. Granted, it’s not about the size of the bottle. It’s about the amount of liquid and I don’t have much left, but I have traveled with this bottle so many times and I’m sure there have been times when there’s been more than 4oz in there. Sorry, 3.5. I thought I was safe with 4. I was wrong.

The lady returns with my gift, along with scissors and scotch tape. “I’ve been doing this all day and everyone laughs but I have’t ripped anyone’s wrapping paper yet.” I’m actually not worried at all, I’ve already had to re-wrap one of them, this paper doesn’t rip easily (I take my wrapping paper seriously). At this, she hands the gift to me. I carefully separate the scotch tape from one side of the present. The box of lotion easily slides out. (The onlookers passing by me are surely disappointed by my lame gift disguised in pretty wrapping paper.)

She removes the lotion from the box, and again, walks away from me. Good thing I got here early!

When she returns, she has bad news. Sort of. “OK, I can’t let you fly with this. Unless you empty some out. I’d have to walk with you outside and watch you do it. Then you’d have to go through again. Do you want to do that?”

Since I have the time, I nod my head yes. Absolutely. If she hadn’t given me the option, I would have asked her if I could at least take a picture of her holding the lotion before she threw it away. (Which would have been hilarious.) But she lets me gather my things, and we walk outside together, to the nearest trash can. I have to be the one to squirt it out. This is so weird. I’m literally squirting lotion into the trash can. I keep thinking I’ve done enough, but she tells me to keep going. Finally, when it seems like there’s less than 1/2 of the tiny 4oz bottle left, she screws on the cap, and we walk back inside.

Let’s try this again.

The same man greets me. “You again?” What can I say? Thankfully, the lady is my escort, but he still has to check my boarding pass and ID, and I still have to take off my shoes and put everything on the conveyor belt. He tells me to have a good flight… again.

I do the whole thing of putting my hands up while they scan my body, and pause after I step through. There’s a woman and a man holding me up. She speaks first. “Haven’t I seen you already?” The guy chimes in. “What does your shirt say?” He then answers his own question. “Keep Me Warm. … I like that.” “Yea, me too, that’s why I recognized her. I remembered that shirt.”

We’re all just having a great time.

I put my lotion in a separate container and slide it through. And it’s good! I made it! I re-wrap and tape the lotion back together, gather my things, and finally, head back outside to where I can either go left or right for my gate. To the left, are a few gates, and what looks like a restaurant with outside seating. So nice! To my right, are most of the gates. Everything is inside, but there is also another outside seating area for another restaurant on the right. This place is amazing.

I head to the right, and back inside through the sliding glass doors. Um, they have George’s Greek Cafe in here. Are you kidding me?! I love George’s! And they have 4th and Vine! I’ve never actually been there but I’ve heard of it! So that’s cool!

I head down to my gate, just to check it out, as I always do. Wanna make sure it’s the right one and all that. It is. Now I can relax. Or, not really relax, but I still have plenty of time to work on my lip sync. I head back outside, because it’s nicer and I don’t think I’ll draw as much attention to myself out there.

I sit down on a bench, and rummage through my bag for my headphones. I have my bluetooth headphones, of course, but I had to pack regular headphones, too, to plug into my laptop for doing the lip sync. I am not even kidding  you when I say that these mother fucking headphones were the first thing I packed. Like weeks ago. And now I can’t find them. Of course I can’t! I look everywhere, like a maniac. I even open my suitcase and look through there even though I KNOW I didn’t put them in there.

I can’t find them. So I have to buy a cheap pair. Fine. It’s fine. I walk back inside, and find some headphones. 15 bucks. Buy them, plug in my ears, plug the jack into my laptop, and …. no sound.

Grrrrr. I swear. I do what I always do in times of distress. Call someone. Obviously, Steve is the lucky guy. He wants to help me but doesn’t really know how. He suggests I download the audio file to my phone so that I don’t need my computer. Grumbling, I do what he says.

Then, I spot a couple who looks relatively normal and nice. Excuse me. I’m sorry but do either of you have headphones? They both start to say no but I keep going. I don’t want to use them, I just want you to plug them into my laptop and tell me if it works. I then explain that I just bought new headphones and they’re not working, so I want to make sure.

They oblige me. The lady listens. Nothing. My piece of shit computer doesn’t work. Awesome. So glad I just bought these headphones. (It’s not really a piece of shit. I’ve had this laptop for a while and I’ve gotten amazing use out of it. I’m just pissed off at the moment.)

I’m realizing now that, there’s no fucking chance I’m getting my lip sync done. Which Steve already told me is fine, I can do it at his parents’ house tomorrow. And I will. But at this point, I don’t even have it close to memorized. I’ve got some work to do.

I pack all my stuff up, purchase a ham and cheese with honey mustard on a pretzel roll, and charge my phone until it’s time to board.

Wouldn’t you know, there’s a problem with the plane? I can see it. It’s right there. But there’s some “maintenance issues” that they’re taking care of, so if everyone could just please sit back down, we’ll keep you posted every 15 minutes with an update.

Totally fine. It’s fine. Did I mention I was originally taking the red eye tonight? But because I didn’t have to work, Steve was able to get me on the earlier flight. So no matter what, I’ll be getting in tonight, rather than tomorrow morning, and that’s so amazing. I hold on to this thought as I grab a latte from Polly’s Coffee (fucking love that place, too! It’s this adorable little coffee shop around the corner from me… and it’s in this airport).

Finally, a guy gets on the speaker and lets us know that we’re going to try and switch planes, because it could take up to three hours to take care of the problem. I look at our plane. It’s a New York Jets plane.

Good. I didn’t want to fly on that plane, anyway. Stupid plane.

Shortly thereafter, the problem is solved. We’ll be boarding the plane at the gate next to us, so the delay only ends up being about an hour.

Even after everything that has happened, I board the plane thoroughly happy with my airport experience. Everyone was so nice. It was so clean. There were outlets everywhere. The food was awesome. It’s comfortable. I mean, it just doesn’t get any better.

Now please, for the love of God, get me to my boyfriend. I miss him so much!!!

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