Today, despite leaving with so much extra time it was ridiculous, I still had trouble getting to my plane on time. I'm now in Raleigh, NC, and getting ready for the start of POSSE 2009, which Chris and I will be leading. The reason I was late was airport craziness. It's interesting how much the airport (as a system) and the people who use it parallel what it's like to work with computers and software. I have no scientific data, but It seems to me that the airport is populated by two types of users: totally clueless casual users or people so expert it's hard to imagine someone "not getting it." I'm squarely in the former group, further aware of my own ineptitude by the fact that so many of my friends fall into the latter category--it's wonderful to travel with them so I can switch off and follow along; not this day.
But back to the airport, and me stressed because I was told to wait in one line (so long its end couldn't be seen from the front), only to be told when I got to the front that I should have waited in another, would have to catch a shuttle, now needed to run, etc. "Go down here, turn left, and just follow everyone." I went "down here" turned left, and then everyone went in three different directions. I'm not kidding. It was like some perfect math problem for fourth graders about fractions and the number of people walking in each corridor.
I made a guess. After going for a long time, it was clear I was following the wrong "everyone." So I turned around and decided I better run. There I was in one of the world's largest terminals, in a large corridor that had exactly 1/3 of the total airport population within it, and I start to lose my footing. I had decided to wear my old Birks, and they weren't up to the slippery floor conditions. I didn't fall right away. Since we're doing grade school math problems, I might as well add some physics and say that this was inertia at its best. Imagine a satellite, always falling, never stopping, hurtling forward at top speed. Now imagine that satellite is a crazed man with a laptop case flailing in his hand, trying as hard as he possible can to regain his balance, feet hitting hard and wide. Now imagine he doesn't regain his balance and after a dozen or more steps goes down hard, laptop first, crumpling into a pile on the giant floor. Now imagine 1/3 of the airport stopping what they were doing to look at this fool. "Are you OK?" I'm OK.
After confirming that my laptop was still in one piece, I got up and slowly walked away. With each step I laughed a little bit more. It was not my finest work, but even I had to laugh. It's a good day when you can do that. There's nothing wrong with being a fool, so long as it's not your default mode.