Greece Dispatch, Part 3
Whoever came up with the idiotic phrase, “The longest journey begins with a single step” obviously never tried to leave Greece.
Many of you know that I was scheduled to preach at the Brier Creek AM Campus on Sunday. You also know that due to an unforeseen air itinerary from you-know-where, I didn’t make it. (My one regret is that I’ll never regain that twelve minutes I spent prepping that sermon.)
Here’s the rundown…believe it or not, the toned-down, edited version:
- Saturday, 3:00 AM Greece time: the alarm goes off. I’m pretty sure I said a very bad word in my heart.
- 4:45 AM: endure a 90 minute ride to the airport on the front seat of a bus with an IMAX-sized windshield, which thankfully drew attention away from our driver who was falling asleep and trying to careen off of bridges.
- 6:30 AM: first sign something is wrong…as the rest of the team is checking in at the airport, my dear sweet mother-in-law (Ginger) who was on the trip with us, is told that she’s been bumped from the London-Boston flight due to a computer glitch on the very first leg of the trip.
- 6:45 AM: I come very close to punching the Greek ticketing agent in the throat when he tells me, “She is a grown woman who can speak for herself. Why don’t you let her do so?” (I think I could’ve taken him, even on three hours sleep.)
- 8:00 – 11:00 AM: Spend the entire Athens-London flight strategizing with the whole team on how we’re going to get Ginger’s luggage off the belts, get her on another flight, get through security, and pee all in the 1:15 layover we have in a major international airport.
- 11:01 AM: sprint to the front of the plane as soon as the “fasten seat belts” sign goes off, only to realize that my passport is at the back of the plane. Not good.
- 11:15 AM: send Merriem and the rest of the team through security, promise I’ll see them in just a few minutes.
- 11:16 AM: realize that Merriem has my clothes, laptop, books, sermon notes, and Bible.
- 11:17 AM: realize that I’ll never see my team, Merriem, my clothes, or my sermon again.
- 11:40 AM: convince the British Airways ticketing agent to let me stay off the Boston-London flight by telling him that my mother-in-law doesn’t speak British.
- 12:00 PM: receive standby status for a 4:30 flight.
- 12:45 PM: find donuts. Jesus still loves me.
- 12:55 – 3:30 PM: talk to approximately 612 different British Airways agents, walk the length of Heathrow Terminal approximately 87 times. Pick up London tabloids to see quotes from Michael Jackson’s third grade teacher’s nephew. Stand in line four different times to find out about flights out of Boston. Call the U.S. six different times using a credit card. Contemplate how many flights I could have booked for what I probably just paid to call the U.S. on a credit card. Say another bad word in my heart for not getting the international data plan on the iPhone. Find a secret passageway to a standby room in Heathrow where I can find out if I’m on the flight. Realize that the person who pointed me to the secret passageway thought Ginger and I were British Airways employees. Wonder when British Airways implemented the Redneck Exchange Program. Ate most of Ginger’s snacks. Talked to an older British lady named Bea. Secretly wondered if Bea would let us come live with her since it was obvious we’d never escape London.
- 4:00 PM: get tossed off the 4:30 flight.
- 4:15 PM: are told that there’s a possibility we’ll be on the 7:30 flight.
- 7:25 PM: are told that we’re definitely on the flight but have to run like the wind to catch it.
- 7:29 PM: are told that our paperwork isn’t right and we can’t get on the flight.
- 7:29:10 PM: gate agent sees the maniacal, nothing-to-lose gleam in my eye and lets us on the flight.
- 7:32 PM: realize that I have no idea where my luggage is.
- 11:00 PM (Boston time): land, go through customs, make several panicked phone calls to tell Summit staffers that I won’t be preaching, find out that my wife has already taken care of things. Thank God for a great woman.
- 11:15 PM: realize that I’ll be spending the night in Boston with my mother-in-law. Ponder that if it were any other day, this would be very odd.
- 12:30 PM: arrive at our hotel. Two king rooms, smoking. Doesn’t matter at this point because I’m seriously considering taking it up.
- 1:00 AM: walk down dark Boston street to a CVS pharmacy, where I buy a three dollar shirt, toothpaste, deodorant, and an A & W Root Beer.
- 1:15 AM: realize I never told anyone that I was going to CVS, so if I’m killed no one will know where to start looking.
- 1:30 – 2:30 AM: on the phone trying to get a flight out the next morning.
- 3:00 AM: sleep.
- The next morning: misjudge the time it will take for the hotel shuttle to get us back to the airport, check in at two different airlines, and get Ginger delivered to her gate, so running like crazy at the end, just to find out my flight is delayed. Fitting. Make it back to RDU and to the Brier Creek Campus just in time to see my 13 year old board a bus for camp.
- The next afternoon: eat Cook Out and slip into a coma.
Here’s a picture of me and Ginger rewarding ourselves for our tenacity. (Yes, that’s a Krispy Kreme in the background. At London Heathrow Airport. God save the Queen’s waistline.)
Here’s a picture of Ginger getting on the flight out of Boston. I’m not sure what happened to her after that, but my job was to get her to Boston. This is my proof for the deposition: