On a recent Sunday night, after arriving on time (for once) at JFK, Joy disembarked from her Austin-to-NYC JetBlue plane and hustled through the terminal. She weaved in and out of throngs of slow-moving tourists and NYC natives, taking only minimal action to keep her carry-on luggage from ramming into their ankles.
She was on a mission: To not wait for a taxi.
Her bladder was as full as a trucker bomb, but she sped by the first bathroom she found. “It will be too crowded with my fellow plane passengers,” she thought, walking briskly, out into the baggage claim area, and locating a small, out-of-the-way restroom. She knew she looked silly, her short little legs walking so fast and so determined, but the moment called for a lack of vanity.
Damn! Four women in line. Still, she admitted, this was less of a wait than would be found up by the plane. She took a deep breath, and waited. “Must stay calm, collected,” she urged herself.
Finished with the restroom, Joy walked into the cool New York air, scanning the skies for the yellow “taxi” stand sign. All she could see was a stagnant line of people and suitcases, stretching the entire length of the JetBlue terminal. In the far distance, she could see they were queued for the taxis.
“Damn! No way,” Joy thought. What to do? What to do? Joy knew she had only precious minutes to find a better solution. She was the impatient sort, and this had haunted her before, especially at grocery check-out lines, where she liked to hop between lines, trying to find the fastest cashier, only to end up in a slower line.
Would this happen tonight?
Joy decided to take the risk, and hopped on the AirTrain that circles JFK. It stopped at the next terminal. “Nope. No way,” Joy thought, eyeing a similarly lengthy taxi line snaking across the terminal. She would wait for the next stop.
It proved to be a wise decision. The AA terminal had a virtually empty taxi line; the few people in line were moving so quickly they didn’t even have time to put their luggage down. “YES!” Joy whispered under her breath, not wanting to alarm the other AirTrain riders with her dorky quirks.
The Airtran was as crowded as the Times Square shuttle at rush hour, so she elbowed and huffed “Excuse me” four times to get off the AirTrain. She ran to the closest elevator, breathless, and pressed floor one. She knew if she took too long, another plane would land, and passengers would show up, get in line, and thwart her efforts. If that happened, she’d either have to just get in line, and wait, or get back on the AirTrain.
Bing! The elevator opened. Joy ran across the street to the taxi line, narrowly beating a sleepy horde of people carrying luggage with baggage claims stickers from LHR.
“HA!” Joy thought, feeling triumphant. “I win! I WIN! I will get home faster than all the other JetBlue suckers still waiting at the other terminal!”
Once seated comfortably in the air-conditioned cab, Joy tried to figure out where LHR was, and wasn’t able to. The next day she looked it up on the internet, which revealed it was Heathrow.
This made her drunk with power, again — knowing she made people who had just spent nine hours on a plane wait behind her for a taxi.