A Tale of Minor Inconveniences & Major Asses
I’m not officially an Atlanta resident but over the years, I’ve made many a pilgrimage to the Black Mecca, arriving and departing both spiritually and mentally full and with relative ease. So when my 6-year-old son and I set out on the journey from our home in New York to my friend Joanna’s house in Atlanta for Friends(and kids)-giving weekend, I couldn’t imagine we’d run into much trouble as we made our way to our destination.
On the flight down, we sat next to a gentleman—let’s call him Christopher—who was most polite. 🤝 That is right up until we landed and were sequestered on a taxing plane while our pilot informed us that the ATL airport had been completely evacuated due to a rogue passenger accidentally letting shots ring off (or whatever fancy phrase they had for it that sounded more like a sexual mishap—ah, “accidental discharge”) right there at the security checkpoint! I mean some TSA agents can be asses but I would never— I digress. Allegedly, a shot was fired when the passenger grabbed their gun from their carry-on luggage during inspection (which will most certainly ensue when you attempt to carry a gun onto a plane—you have been forewarned) and ran for the exit.
I could only imagine the frenzy that was ensuing in the airport— the stampede of passengers, young and old, running for their lives toward the exit, some abandoning their belongings in bins on the security belt, others tripping over the barriers that kept them neatly following the maze toward an awaiting TSA agent, the 6ft floor stickers curling up at the edges, arriving passengers that went from kissing their loved ones farewell to hopping back in the car and getting the hell out of dodge, only to be met with airport traffic, the ticket agents rising from their posts and backing into the mysterious room behind the baggage drop belt. All the while, masks and pandemic pounds rendering everyone more winded than they should have been, the suspect conveniently camouflaged among the them as they made their exit. Chaos.
I later learned that the rogue passenger at the center of this madness was a 42 y/o Black man who was a convicted felon. I reasoned the gun must’ve been accidentally packed—carelessly left in his backpack after a long week of self-defense or intimidation (if there’s even a difference) because clearly he didn’t want these types of problems. So, I mentally I rooted for him to make it out unharmed and chalked up the delay as my personal contribution to the struggle. When in Black Mecca…
Meanwhile, in middle-class, first-world problem news: there was a shuttle that Christopher was supposed to catch upon arrival that he was now in jeopardy of missing [insert camera panning to me and zooming in on my melodramatic shocked face—the horror]! How did I know this? Well, I heard him utter the first five words of his cry for help before the shuttle customer service representative hung up on him, much to his dismay. This coming after he waited in the telephone queue for “over 30 minutes.” How did I know this? Because in true Thanksgiving spirit, he indignantly phoned his mom mostly to have a bitch fit but secondarily, to provide her with the mundane details of his reservation and send her on a mission to call customer service back and do his dirty work.
It wasn’t necessary though. How did I know this? Because after five minutes of aggressive typing and masked but labored breathing, Christopher called his supermom back to say he got through to customer service and they were well aware of the situation, had a plan to resend the shuttle. They also noted that the impact was universal (yes, sir… the fact that there was gunfire in the airport that you haven’t even entered yet is not your personal crisis). While he was busy putting out fires that were already quenched, I mentally flipped through my Rolodex of personalities and decided this moment called for calm, centered and attentive mother Nikki.
I continued to eavesdrop while keeping my son, Jaden, distracted from the rising panic and anger bubbling up across the entire plane with an impromptu game of Battleship. Simultaneously, I texted my expecting girlfriends and my husband to update them. I also asked my husband to check the news and tell me what the pilot isn’t so I know if I should pull the trigger (no pun intended) on one of the many exit strategies— complete with dialogue, multiple plot points, and embarrassingly selfish but personally heroic gestures—that I’d just conjured up. Luckily for everyone else on the plane, the pilot’s story checked out. With just one ship remaining unscorched by the missiles Jaden had masterfully and blindly dropped on my unsuspecting fleet, I said a silent prayer that he continue to find joy in blowing up his mom’s imaginary, not physical, world.
The airport crew reentered the airport, made their way through security, and outside to drag our plane to the jet bridge. We exited the plane in record hurry-up-and-wait speed and embarked on what
I had hoped would be a much less adventurous Uber ride to our final destination. Boy was I wrong! 🤯 To be continued…