I arrived at Los Angeles International with plenty of time. An hour an a half before my flight, seucirty seemed non-threatening, and even though I stood in the wrong line twice (first the line to check luggage if you’re already checked in and then group check in), made it to the proper line and had only 15 minutes before the luggage cut off, I thought “Hot damn I’m gonna make this flight after all.” I stepped up to the kiosk, ran my info and received a blinking screen saying talk to an agent at US Airways.
But I’m at United. And my itinerary reads United. Operated by US but flying United. So I turn to the guy directing people to kiosks and ask what the screen means.
Me: “sir? What does this mean?”
Mr Person Director: “it means you need to go to US airways and speak with them. This is United. You need terminal 1. We are at 7.”
Me: ” Wait… Are you serious? But my… It says… And uhh…”
Mr Person Director: “Just go downstairs and catch the bus over to terminal 1.”
Me: “But I’ll never make it in time.”
Mr Person Director: “Well you have to try.”
And so in a bit of a flusterery huff I ran downstairs. Called Mr Man and he told me to stay positive. Which is normally my line. The bus pulled up two puffs into my “I’m super stressed” cigarette, took me to terminal 1, no lines, and I made the 45 minute baggage check in by 3 minutes. Literally 3 minutes.
The security line was ten miles long, just like last week when I was heading to NYC, but this line moved quickly, took about 25 minutes, and I knew I’d make my flight as I stood behind three nuns taking off their shoes.
They were calling my name on the loud speaker, Jennie Ketcham to gate 12, and as I ran through terminal 1, all I could hear was Mr Person Director telling me I must try. I must, at the very least, try.
I think back on the failures in my life, and think perhaps if I’d tried, at the very least, I would have been a success regardless of whether I did something well or not. Like school. I was successful in school until I quit trying. Like living. We are successful in life until we quit trying.
So it’s off to Boston to speak at Harvard. I’ve butterflies of the belly, and am sporting a Jansport backpack in an effort to blend in with the students. I hope kids still wear Jansport backpacks.
My own classes start in June, I register for classes in May and a month later, I’ll be back in a classroom. Going school supply shopping. Studying and doing homework. Trying. To be better than myself.