Running For Dear Life
There are people who obsessively plot out every intricate detail of their travel plans. I know this because I've both been that person before and I've traveled with him (I say him, because it's never a "her"). They're ten steps ahead at all times, constantly working and reworking the plan every few minutes, keeping you abreast of every potential outcome. However, after years on the road and the humble realization that rarely am I in control of my own fate, I am a far cry from that person today. That's why when it came time to land in Detroit yesterday and make my connection to Louisville, I was completely unprepared for what I was about to have to do.
As we were descending, I pulled out my boarding pass and looked at the upcoming boarding time: 7:15 PM. What time was it right now? 7:07 PM. This is gonna be close, I thought to myself, but I should be fine so long as the gate isn't too far away from the one we pull into. The plane parked at exactly 7:17, but I was in row 39, so I watched with the patience of a two year child as each passenger before me slowly and without even the slightest hint of expedience began exiting the aircraft. At 7:25, I was sidestepping people in the jet bridge, having realized that the boarding time for a small flight to Kentucky probably wouldn't take more than twenty minutes. We were scheduled to take off at 7:55, so I had five to ten minutes at best if I was going to make it. My gate was 75A and I was deboarding at A20.
Here's where a more detailed knowledge of Detroit's Terminal A will help you understand the issue at hand: it's a fucking mile long. Not in the figurative, hyperbolic sense that I usually love to speak in, but in the literal sense. Here's a YouTube video some guy made about it years ago if you don't believe me. It's a legit mile. Guess where gate 75A is? You guessed it: at the very end. It's the last gate in the whole building, which is why there's a train that takes passengers from one end to the other. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to wait for the train. You can guess what happened next.
I made it. By the skin of my teeth, but I made it. I was hacking for probably the first time in my adult life. I like to think that I'm in pretty good shape, but a mile long sprint with a fairly heavy computer and camera bag in beat-up canvas Vans isn't usually something I do. It took me the entirety of the hour-long flight to recover. My lungs were legitimately sore and I was coughing just about the entire way. Needless to say, my suitcase didn't make it, so I went to the Seelbach hotel in sweaty clothes and I drank at the Old Seelbach bar in those same sweaty clothes. My bag was here when I woke up, however, so kudos to Delta for making that happen.
What's funny is that apparently this particular SFO/Detroit/Louisville flight is a consistent thing. I was texting with Copper & Kings owner Joe Heron right before take off, and his choice of words had me laughing out loud: "That fucking Detroit connection is Lucifer on ice. It's ridiculously far! I had the door closed in my face once." As we approached Louisville, I could make out the Ohio River separating Kentucky from Indiana under what was left of the evening's sunset and all of my worries washed away.
I'm off to meet Eddy Russell in a bit, then I'm over to Michter's in Shively later this afternoon with Joe Magliocco. Hopefully, at a much more leisurely pace.