I'd like to see a show of hands: who out there has a tendency to overbook themselves? Yes. I see you all. I'm glad I'm not alone.
I keep making the mistake of expecting summers to be as they were when I was a child; all toes dabbling the water while sitting on the dock and picking out cloud animals. On this other end of things — the grown up and parental end — I find that I'm making like a duck with my head calm and my feet paddling a mile a minute under the surface of the water.
This past few weeks I've been blessed to have the opportunity to do a great deal of food-related travel. Here, however, is where the overbooking rears its head.
My friend Ree and I took a year to plan a trip to her ranch in Oklahoma for me to teach a weekend cooking workshop. So far so good, right? What I didn't take into account was the three weeks prior to this trip were filled with various permutations of kids going to summer camp, business travel for my husband, community obligations and ye olde farmers' market.
Then I went and did it properly. I committed to attending a pork tour. Sounds good, right? A trip based on pork? Sign me up!
The only problem was it required flying out the day after I got back from Oklahoma. Even crazier, the flight in from Oklahoma arrived at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday and the trip out to Ohio was at nine o'clock in the morning on Monday with a two hour drive either way to the airport. As they say in Oklahoma, "Yeehah!"
I decided that caffeine would solve my problem. It did, partially. It managed to get me to the airport on Monday morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, or at least crazy-eyed and shaky-tailed. Then caffeine failed me.
I looked at my boarding pass for the current flight and the connecting flight while waiting for boarding. My eyes started glazing over. I managed to get onto the flight and glance at the boarding pass long enough to see the number seven. I thought I remembered it being seven "d" and plunked myself down in the seat. I smiled at the lady in the seat next to me and closed my eyes.
Within moments, a man asked if perhaps I was in his seat. He showed a boarding pass that read 7D. I apologized and said, "Oh! I must have remembered incorrectly. I'm 7C." He offered to let me stay where I was and sit in 7C himself. I thanked him profusely and closed my eyes again.
This time it was about one minute before I realized that people were discussing the seating again. I blearily opened my eyes and tried to explain to the woman who was telling the aforementioned man that he was in her seat that he had switched with me. She showed me her 7C boarding pass. I said, "But mine says 7C, too!" My seat mate gently pointed out that my boarding pass was for my connecting flight. Not only was I in the wrong seat, but I was in the wrong row by four whole rows.
My apparent befuddlement coupled with my silly grin defused the situation. Thank heavens the plane was full of patient people. I grabbed my bags and the queue of people backed up four rows to let "that poor, tired woman" back through.
What lesson did I learn from the whole thing? I learned that I shouldn't be let out of the house sleepy and that strangers really can be kind.
I'm on my way home as I type this, just about as sleepy as I was when I left. I'm properly caffeinated for my remaining travel — I hope — and I'm looking forward to getting home and cooking for my loving family. I'll break out some of our favorites for our first meal back together.