Zakem Bridge, 10 miles, 39 minutes

This is the first trip I’ve taken in 10 years where I haven’t provided a play-by-play of angry travel tweets. It’s been cleansing. But y’all have been missing out on the details as a result, so here’s a taste, from the last 5 hours.

I finished up my work with Yankee colleagues around 3:00 p.m. and got in my car and headed east.

My first stop was the Barbour Milford Clearance Centre, a decidedly non-outlet outlet of the British apparel brand located in an industrial park in southern New Hampshire, conveniently on my way to the airport. I was the only customer, and I was treated to Olympic-level customer service from the friendly and helpful staff, who briefed me on UK vs. US sizing, on what “waxed jackets” are (Barbour is known for them; they are cotton jackets impregnated with wax so as to be waterproof), and on their various amazing deals (especially the “red tag” area at the back “where people find real gems”). After 20 minutes of browsing, I settled on two short sleeve shirts, regularly $119 each, but effectively half-price with a store-wide 35% off and a rack-specific “buy one get one at half price” discount. I shall return.

Next stop was Sunnyside Acura, where the son of a colleague has recently taken up work. I got a tour, and a coffee, and was sent on my way. I’ve known him since he was a young boy, and it was good to see him making his way successfully through life.

From Sunnyside (where it was raining some torrential), I headed out to Route 3 south into Massachusetts. The rain got worse and the traffic heavier as I made my way; I passed signs like “Woburn, 39 minutes” that seemed absurd in their high estimates but which proved conservative. It took me two hours to get to Logan Airport, about twice as long as it takes on a good day.

I’m the kind of person who’s constantly recalculating my progress and my possible arrival time, and thus my chance of getting stuck in Boston, every 5 minutes. I spent about 15 minutes within sight of the Zakem Bridge in Boston—the final waypoint before the airport—thinking that it was most certain I’d miss my plane.

Then traffic picked up, just a little, and I pulled into the Rental Car Centre about 7:10 p.m., heading for a 7:50 p.m. flight.

But, as soon as I connected to the free Logan wifi, I got alerts about flight delays, and my 7:50 p.m. flight turned out not to be leaving until 8:50 p.m. (an estimate that the check-in desk termed optimistic). So my rare not-filling-up-the-rental-car-with-gas panic was unwarranted.

Also just as I arrived at the airport, whole bunch of people’s phones started to go off, including mine; turns out that “receive urgent public service alerts from Google?” setting actually works, and that everyone was receiving National Weather Service alerts about flash floods.

And so here I sit, in Ozone by Todd English in Terminal B, waiting for my optimistic flight.

The flight delay means I won’t get into Halifax until after 11:00 p.m. I’m overnight in the Alt Hotel at Stanfield, and then off to Charlottetown in the morning.

Oh how I long for the days when one could fly direct from Charlottetown to Boston.

It’s been a good trip, but I’ll be happy to get home.

Postscript: I posted this, then packed up and headed to the tiny dedicated Air Canada security checkpoint in Terminal B. It was all but deserted when I arrived, and the two TSA agents present both told me I was too late, that the gate was closed, and that I should have showed up 2 hours early as instructed. They were deadly serious. When I looked aghast, the both broke character at the same time and told me they’d been having me on.

Another Postscript: boarded the plane at 9:00 p.m. I slowed everything down with my usual “hold on, you didn’t use that passport when you flew into the US” dual national dance. But I’m on the plane and all systems are go.

Final Postscript: the plane left without incident; 30 seconds before boarding I impulse-purchased Ariel Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply and it kept me engrossed from take off to landing. I’m a sucker for personal tragedy memoires from my age adjacents.

NWS Weather Alert on my Android phone


Paul's picture
Paul on May 6, 2017 - 12:46 Permalink

I'm glad you got to Halifax ok. I have to say I've never encountered a TSA agent with a sense of humor. Must just be the ones at Air Canada because they know just how nice all Canadians are.