Is not on June 21st. No, the longest day of the year happened yesterday.
I woke up at 8.00am Ireland time which is 3.00am here in Georgia. The day had come for me to make the journey home to visit.
By 8.35 I was hugging my roommates goodbye and rolling my suitcase down the street to the bus stop. On the bus I did the usual double, triple, quadruple check that I had my passport and flight information. Arriving at the Dublin Airport at 9.15, I set off on what was to become the longest day ever.
Little did I know what awaited me.
Security through the Dublin airport 90% of the time goes without any trouble, but yesterday the queue was a mile long and moving slower than a snail covered in salt. Inch by inch we moved closer to the security gate. After a millennia, my turn came to dump my belongings into the buckets. Belt off, laptop out, and water bottle chugged (because I didn’t want to pour out the water) I went to move through the x-ray screen thing when to my horror, someone cut me in line.
A man pushing a lady in a wheelchair stopped me and my luggage so the lady could pass through security.
Really? I waited for a millennia to go through this stupid machine that shows my goods to the dude behind the screen just to be stopped at the finish line?!
Ah no bother. She was quick about it and got through, but still. On the other side, I put my belt back on and adjusted the laptop to fit my bag again and was off.
Moving my already exhausted feet through the terminal, I saw the sign for US Pre-Clerance. Now, I had heard that the Dublin Airport had the American Border Control in it, but I didn’t realize it would be like congress trying to pass a bill.
If I thought the queue for the regular security line was a mile long, then this line was that of a marathon. Crowded into a space no bigger than a small restaurant, we fought our way to the front of the line. Little to my excitement, I had to take off my belt, unpack my laptop, and remove my shoes AGAIN all to be cleared to enter my home country.
Once I was through that order, I hopped into yet ANOTHER queue to get my passport looked at. Yes, I am an American. I have lived in Ireland for eight months. No I did not go on a cruise. I like to travel. I will be bad next Thursday. I know, the visa is only good for a year. Blah blah blah blah so many questions.
After arriving at the airport at a prompt 9.15am, I finally made it to the gate to board the plane at 10.45. Good lord! I had just enough time to relax and eat a Cadbury Caramel before loading the plane. We boarded, got comfy, and took off towards Chicago O’Hare just after 11.30am Ireland time or 6.30am in Georgia.
On the almost 8 hour flight, I chose to entertain myself by watching tv. What did I chose you might ask? Well, I picked the longest freaking movie offered on the in flight screening. A film which lasted a solid three hours and forty minutes WITHOUT the intermission. Yes my friends, I sat through Gone with the Wind. The entire freaking thing. By the end of it, I didn’t feel bad for Scarlett but sure did hope she found a way to win Rhett back. When the movie was over, I realized that just about half the flight had gone by without me noticing it. Ever want a movie to kill some time on a flight? I’ll recommend that one. The next half of the flight was a blur between music, tv shows, writing my column, and staring off in the distance pondering my life decisions.
Then, the plane landed in Chicago, Illinois, and what a glorious feeling it was.
Initially, the layover was only supposed to last two hours which was enough time to get off the plane, get lost in the airport, find food, and get to the gate. In transit to the next security gate, I ran into a bunch of college kids from the University of Georgia. Seeing as how we would all be on the same flight to Atlanta later, I decided to hang out with them. It was one of those guys that gave me the worst news ever.
The flight has been delayed to 5.30pm.
Let’s catch up on time. We landed in Chicago around 2.15pm Chicago Time which was 8.15pm on my body. I wasn’t sleep but certainly wasn’t wide awake. If the flight was pushed to take off at 5.30pm, that meant we wouldn’t even take off to fly back to Atlanta until 11.30pm on my body. That’s past my bedtime y’all. But it’s not a big deal. I can push through right?
We got some Chinese food and mingled about this and that waiting around for our flight to finally come around. A little while later, some one else got a text saying that our flight was pushed to 6.00pm. And then again to 6.09pm. And then AGAIN to 6.18pm.
We did not board and take off from Chicago until well after 6.30pm Central Standard Time making it after midnight on my body. Y’all, I was exhausted and pissed and tired and hungry and jet lagged and sad and exhausted. All I wanted was to be in Atlanta with my family.
The flight lasted for an hour and a half during which I slept for roughly an hour. The kid next to me pushed his legs all up in my already cramped space making it more difficult for me to get any kind of comfortable. It was the most fitful hour sleep in my life with the last thirty minutes lasting next to a lightyear.
Eventually, we landed in Atlanta, Georgia. I practically ran to the baggage claim to meet my parents. I was home, in bed with a full belly by 12.30am Georgia time or 5.30am Ireland time.
My body was pooped, my brain was delirious, and my eyes couldn’t stay open anymore.
I know that countless people travel longer and harder than that, but that trip about did me in. I am so happy to be back in America and at home with my family for a bit. Back to Ireland next week!!
MC <3 😀