My Terrible Night at LAX

After a full day at Ancestral Living Skills Camp at Trestles Beach, I came home to tidy up, roast a chicken, and get showered before driving to LA to pick up Bella and her friend from LAX. Somewhere in that flurry before I left, I got a text from Bella at her layover in Houston, that she was starving, so I packed turkey sandwiches too.

Chad got home just at five, and I left Christian with him.

I figured that 1 hour 40 minutes was plenty of time to drive to LAX from Laguna Niguel, even though I was anticipating traffic and dreading not being able to use the carpool lane (Christian is my free ongoing carpool lane pass).

The cruising was relatively smooth and I got to LAX at 6:30 pm. Not bad, ten minutes to spare. I was feeling smug – I hadn’t gotten lost and I was on time – no sweat! Bella had requested a curbside swoop-up, but I had to pee, so I decided to park.

When I parked I tossed my keys into my backpack and began to hoist it to my shoulders. It was heavy. It was still filled with my empty dish containers from lunch on the beach, bathing suits, and multiple half-filled water bottles. So, I decided to grab my phone, my wallet, and my knitting – dumped my backpack in the trunk for safe-keeping.

And headed off.

I picked up Bella and her friend and we were all smiles and hugs until we got back to my car. AND I DID NOT HAVE MY KEYS. And at that point I had ABSOLUTELY NO RECOLLECTION THAT I’D LEFT MY KEYS IN THE TRUNK OF MY CAR.

In fact, I was certain that I HAD HAD MY KEYS IN THE AIRPORT.

And thus began a very stressful hour of re-tracing my steps, talking to the baggage claim person, calling the police, and ultimately talking to every person wearing any semblance of a uniform at terminal 7. Yep, I talked to the Smart-Carte guy too. And all the custodians, so sure was I that I had lost my keys in the airport.

Meanwhile, Bella and her friend were still hungry, but the food I’d brought for them was sitting tantalizingly in view in a basket on the front passenger seat.

Everybody, I mean everybody, was upset, and mostly upset with me. Chad thought he was going to have to pack Christian up in the car and drive up to rescue me. Plus he was mad that I’d lost the key fob key – the one that always costs $200 to replace. Bella’s friend’s parents were just arriving at my house in Laguna Niguel and pretty irritated that their daughter was still not there. Bella was hungry and just couldn’t believe I was doing this to her and her friend. (You know teenagers, they take everything personally.)

In the end, Bella’s friend’s parents decided to drive up to LAX and get their daughter. Chad managed to get them a spare key to the car. I met them at the curb in front of terminal 7. I gave them their daughter (a very sweet girl) and they handed me a “Welcome Home!” balloon, a box of See’s chocolates, and the spare key to my car.

Bella and I drove home. I was simultaneously relieved and embarrassed to find my keys in my backpack in the trunk of the car.

There’s a lesson here. Is it about not talking on the phone while locking up the car?

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