An hour before your flight takes off.
8 minute drive to airport made longer because of the sheets of rain coming.
Rental car gas tank on empty.
You're wearing shorts and a short sleeved T shirt.
This, my friends, is the situation I found myself in a couple months ago when I went to upstate New York for a weekend.
I stood in the rain coming down pretty steadily while gripping the gas pump, waiting for it to be full so that my frozen, little hands could be dry and warm again.
Now the stupid thing about New York is that the gas pumps don't have a little kick stand. So like, when you hold up the little lever to let the gas in, you can't put down this little kick stand to have it stay there so you can move about your business.
Oh, no. You're left standing there holding it and being exposed to the elements while you do so.
And then, out of nowhere, it began to pour heavy, heavy rain. The wind blew the rain ferociously on my back, soaking my whole body as I stood there hopelessly, holding the stupid little gas pump that couldn't do its own job.
Although I've never been hit with a fire hose or a sheet of glass, I'd imagine that the feeling of that rain was similar to those two feelings.
My friend ran out of the car and stood by me.
"I FEEL OBLIGATED TO STAND OUT HERE WITH YOU BECAUSE I FEEL BAD!" she yelled.
"IT'S OKAY!" I yelled back to her over the rain, "CAN YOU DRIVE THE REST OF THE WAY? I DON'T FEEL COMFORTABLE IN THIS WEATHER!"
"YEAH, THAT'S FINE!"
I don't know how much time passed, but whatever it was it was it felt like hours.
I climbed back in the passengers side.
"Oh, Carmen. You're soaked." said my friend.
"It's not that bad-" I stopped and looked down. My shirt, pants, and hair were a full shade darker. The straightness of my hair was gone and replaced with the weird waves that I always have after a shower . . . or a rain storm.
*Note: Those pictures are not in New York. That is New Zealand. But the effect is the same.
". . . well, it doesn't feel that bad."
We took off driving, and my stress level continued to rise. Forty five minutes until our plane took off. Eight minute drive to the airport, and we still had to return the rental car, go through security, and print off our tickets.
I was an anxious wreck.
My friend had no issue driving in the weather, as she grew up driving through buckets of rain during monsoon season. Little Carmen from dry-land Utah, however, found herself chewing her nails and wondering how in the world we were suddenly driving through the Amazon; nothing but trees blurred by the heavy rain.
I mean, I've never been to the Amazon . . . but it's like that, right?
Eight minutes later, we were circling the rental parking lot desperately looking for a spot close by. Naturally, the only open spot was in the back of the parking lot.
"Okay. You ready?"
"Let's do this." I said, maneuvering the backpack onto my back, and opening the door.
I had taken no more than three steps away from the car when I remembered I had left stuff in the back seat.
I trotted back, open the door, grabbed the papers and my jacket sitting in the back seat, shoved them under my wet shirt in a vain attempt to keep them dry, and ran towards the airport.
Now, I really do wish you could get a good idea of how this felt. To do so, I would recommend hooking up a treadmill outside while having your friend spray you with a hose at full blast. Now run with a backpack on your back and stuff shoved under your shirt so that it looks like you're nine months pregnant with an oddly shaped baby.
While you're doing this, you'll notice that you can't see your feet, and water is dripping down your face to make you blink constantly. And if you're like me, you're probably not an every-day runner so your legs and arms are kind of strangely flailing around during this.
My friend and I splashed our way into the airport and over to the car rental return. Anxiously I handed over my keys to the manager, and he typed slowly on the computer and helping out the other worker.
Now I was trying to be all understanding and what not, but my nerves were speaking louder than my patience. I'm pretty sure I unintentionally rolled my eyes a couple times.
"Which flight you girls on?"
"Theonetodetriotandthentosaltlake." I sputtered off quickly.
"Ah. That plane hasn't even landed yet," he said, continuing to type onto the computer.
"Really?" I said, and felt some relief.
"Yup. Still not here yet."
I was relieved. That made it seem like a good possibility that it'd get delayed, meaning my friend and I would for sure make it onto our flight.
The man finished typing, handed us our receipt, and we took of running to security.
Now, this airport is small. So, with no line in security it would've been probably a 3 minute walk total from the rental return place to our gate. Naturally, there was a line, and I could clearly see through the other side our gate. My nerves began to calm as I saw we still had enough time to get through security. I got even more calm when the people in front of us in line were also on the same flight as us.
Security consisted of those body-scanner things. My friend went through first, and the screen showed that basically every part of her body was lit up and in danger of hiding something potentially hazardous to everyone's safety.
"Oh, it's probably just the rain. This has been happening to everyone today because they're so wet," said the TSA agent, pulling my friend to the side so she could be patted down.
My turn came, and the same thing happened. According to the screen by the body scanner, I was a walking weapon.
I stood a few feet away from my friend and we both got patted down by TSA agents. After being cleared, we then had to get our hands wiped and scanned for bomb residue.
. . . and my friend's . . . came back positive for bomb residue.
The agent who was patting down my friend grabbed her and took her to a private room in the back, while the TSA agent who was working on me grabbed my friends luggage and also went in the back room.
The door shut, and two beefy-looking police officers with sun glasses on stood outside the doors, guarding them.
I estimated we had about 10 minutes till boarding.
It was at this moment when I was grateful for white privilege. Like seriously. If they were getting this intense with two white females, how would they have been with any other ethnicity? #TheWorldIsAMessedUpPlaceMyFriends
Not being allowed to leave, I leaned against the table behind me and watched the security line slowly get backed up and longer and longer, as there were no other TSA agents available.
Looking back now, I think the whole instance took about 5-8 minutes tops. But when you're stressed, time warps and either goes by too slow or too fast. In this instance, it was speeding by.
As the security line began to back up, they called in two more TSA agents. An old lady came up to me and used a different scanner for my hands, which came in clear for bomb residue.
I nervously fumbled to get my shoes back on as I waited for my friend to come out. A minutes later, the security guards stepped to the side of the room, the door opened, and my friend came out following the two TSA agents.
"What'd they do?!" I asked - now just out of plain curiosity.
"Checked all my stuff, scanned it, and patted me down. It was fine," she replied.
Five minutes later, we were boarding the plane while I carried my Tina Fey shirt,
a clean pare of underwear, and basketball shorts in my hands to change into. As soon as we sat our stuff down, I went to the bathroom and changed into my dry clothes.
We found our gate pretty quickly, and had about two hours until our flight took off. After getting sushi, we were both still a little hungry so split ways to go buy food.
Not in the mood for anything sugary or greasy, I picked up a big bowl of cut water melon. Twenty minutes before our flight took off, I began eating it.
Boarding time came, and as I stood up to get everything organized, I dropped my watermelon bowl and watermelon juice spilled ..... down my pants ..... which, because of the fabric, didn't absorb water very well.
To get the full affect of this, I want you to take some ice cubes, put them in a glass of water, dye the water pink, and pour it down your pants.
It was painful. At this moment, I was so grateful I am not a man, because I found myself saying through pain, "Ohmygoshthat'scoldthat'scoldthat'scoldthat'sreallyreallyreallycold" while being too shocked to even move.
"Go change!" my friend said.
I only had two other pairs of pants - and one was covered in dirty lake water and dirt from the Susquehanna River, and the other was still wet from that morning.
"I think I'll be fine once I stand up!" I said, cringing.
I stood up and gasped again as the water just stayed pooled in my shorts and underwear.
"Here," said my friend, handing me a pare of swim shorts. "Change into these!"
And I scattered off holding her shorts and my backpack.
What I didn't know is, as I was running away, my friend was mumbling to herself, "There's no way those are going to fit her."
I got into the bathroom, and yanked everything out of my backpack desperately looking for a clean underwear, even though I was pretty sure all my underwear was already dirty.
I couldn't even find any underwear in general during my chaotic dig through my clothing.
And so I did something a number of my friends have done numerous times that I had never done:
I went commando.
See, not only had I gone commando, I also discovered her swim shorts were WAY too big for me, and there was virtually no way I could tighten them. After trying vainly to tighten them, I gave up and let go to see if they would stay on their own.
Nope. They fell right off.
So, I swung my backpack over my back, pulled my pants back up, and ran back to the boarding line, holding my pants up like a weirdy as I did so.
Guys, I highly recommend running a short distance while wearing a backpack and pants too big so you have to hold them while running. You look ridiculous.
"Yeah I knew there'd be no way those would fit you right," my friend said.
"It's chill," I said as a spontaneous idea came to mind.
I grabbed a bunch of extra fabric from my pants and balled it together in my hand so that my pants fit well, and tied a hair tie around the ball so that they'd stay in place.
I gave my friends a thumbs up.
"You. Look. Lovely." she said, and we both laughed.
It was late at night now, I was absolutely exhausted, and my appearance showed it. What started out as denim shorts, a cute blue t shirt, and new sneakers ended up being bright blue swim shorts, a baggy, Tina Fey shirt, and flip flops.
And we just wont talk about my hair.
I truly had never looked better.
HOWEVER. Let me show you another terrible outfit I had to wear:
Basically what this boils down to was we spontaneously got kicked out of our apartment when I was wearing a red and tan outfit, so I grabbed another outfit for the next day - the black and blue one - and realized that I only had one pair of shoes and jacket and it was too cold NOT to wear horrible tights.
And although I was humiliated, I also pretended like I had no idea how terrible it was and owned it.
Anyway, whenever you're self conscious about what you're wearing, (question: are guys self conscious of what they wear or is that mostly a female thing?) just reflect on these experiences . . . and you'll feel better about life.
Have an awkward day everyone!