So the boy and I decided to meet up in St. Augustine – Jacksonville proving to be a more reasonably-priced airfare for me. (It offends the boy’s sensibilities for me to spend money on things we’ll do together. As a compromise, since he’s not paying for my flights, he insists I get cheap airfare – always to be desired, in reality. If I can’t get a fare he thinks is reasonable – even if I think it’s reasonable – he’d rather I not spend the money.)
Just as well. St. Augustine is someplace he’s wanted to visit anyway.
The flight to Jacksonville is delayed. We have clear skies for flying, but apparently there’s a mid-country weather system throwing a wrench in the works. The entire terminal is packed, not a seat to be had. The gate next to mine just had its delayed plane arrive, and is preparing to board passengers to Nashville. The flight after that one, same gate, is to Tulsa. These are delayed, but do, in time, turn over. Meanwhile, my gate continues to show that the 9-something PM flight to DC has departed. It’s not yet 7PM. The gate signs – but only from my gate – are all reading flight information for the prior day. This is confusing and more than a little nerve-wracking … how will I know if there’s a gate change? (Orbitz would email me, actually. But one likes to have some visual confirmation.)
My flight does, eventually, get off the ground. The flight is smooth. We make good time and land just after 11PM. Jacksonville’s tower is strung with Christmas lights. It’s picturesque. Actually, it’s cute. I can’t imagine my home airport decorating the tower. We’re much more all-business and perhaps a bit of a humbug. Wait, isn’t that a security risk or something?
At this hour, everything in the terminal area is locked up tight for the night. Just beyond that, just through the security check, is a bar. The boy is waiting for me; he sees me before I do him. He’s only been waiting for me a few minutes. I order a soda, and they offer it to me “to go” – because even this last bastion of commerce is closing for the night. He may, in fact, have been keeping them open by his presence.
It’s late. I’m tired. I’m hungry. As it turns out, St. Augustine is a good hour away. Thank God for Denny’s. Who would have thought I’d ever say that?
We get in, and I get settled, in the wee small hours. Tomorrow… St. Augustine itself!