Colombian Customs, Meet American Customs

November, 22nd 2011

How ironic. I’m only out of Colombia, so famed for being laidback with tardiness-inducing sloth, for a mere five hours before I nearly miss my connecting flight because of the worst time management used by a massive U.S. airport.

Don’t you hate it in movies how they show the main character bustin’ his ass, sweatin’ balls in a 100 yard dash to catch his flight? Well, that cliché douchebag was me – only exchange that 100 yards into 300 one way, 300 back, a high-speed escalator ride, and a ferry train ride, all in time to have the almighty gatekeeper open up the door just for you, with an unnecessarily irritating, “I thought you weren’t gonna make it,” quip.

Oh yeah, and the security threw away my recent duty-free purchase of only the finest Aguardiente Nectar quince mil pesos can buy (Verde if you must know). Fuckin’ ‘ell. Thanks Continental Airlines, for allowing myself (and most likely a few other unluckier flyers) to purchase a ticket from you with a connecting flight that is literally impossible to catch unless you say, ‘peace out luggage, I’ll see ya when I see ya,’ toss out your party-fave guardo, and run all five legs of that corny-movie relay. And you heard right…bye bye luggage. I could only hope to have her returned to me within a month.

Ok Continental, let’s do some elementary math. Your favorite. If you have one hour and a half between flights, and U.S. Customs takes 45 minutes to clear, you have a full 45 minutes remaining to relax before you take off. Sweet, right? Maybe I’ll watch Why Mac Got Fat. But wait a moment, well-paying customer. You need to pick up your own luggage from baggage claim and recheck it before you can decide which Always Sunny character is slacking this season. ‘How long will that take?’ you ask. You guessed it, another 45 minutes – just in time to make your flight. Oh wait, I forgot to mention, Houston’s airport is fahkin’ ooge mate! and you have to traverse a sizeable portion of everything’s-bigger-in-George Bush’s Texas Airport to reach your gate. Hilariously, the only flight whose gate number is omitted from the Departures board is yours! That’s gonna cost ya another 15 minute sprint to customer service plus the five minutes it’ll take to get through the third security checkpoint you’ve stripped your way through today. At least, they were too negligent to discover the baggie of exotic Colombian uchuvas (look ‘em up) that you nabbed before leaving the Boog.

But, upon landing in Washington, DC a few hours later, I can’t be a complete cynical bastard. By some miracle in the form of a beautifully sweet airport luggage worker, my bag that I had left for dead appeared on the baggage claim belt before me as if I imagined the whole ordeal. And, I can say that I met a compassionate Texan student who listened to my sweaty ranting, consoling me with time-honored classics like, ‘damn, that’s terrible.’ I think I convinced her to travel to Colombia, by the way. Plus, it’s good to be home. And it’s decorative gourd season, motherfuckers.