|Service. Not bad at all thanks.|
I've travelled a bit. I know the importance of knowing where my stuff is. And what stuff to keep close and handy.
When I travel with the kids, it's very regimented. Everyone has their own wheely bag, and their own backpack. They carry their own stuff, stick on their own bag tag, put their own bag on the conveyor belt.
Perhaps I got a bit full of myself. A bit cocky. After getting us safely from home to Briz, to Mum's place, to Mike's folks, back to Mum's and finally to my sister's for a quick lunch before our flight. I thought I was bulletproof. Nothing lost, all in good order.
So after getting us from Ashgrove to the airport, with a quick petrol stop, rental car drop off, boarding pass print, bag drop and security check, I thought I'd send Mike a text telling him we were all on time and looking forward to seeing him.
My phone wasn't in my bag. I checked again.
I tipped the contents of my bag onto the airport concourse.
Of course it had to be in the hire car. I couldn't imagine it could be anywhere else. This is an object I take out and fiddle with approximately every 10 minutes of my life. Back in the day people kept their appointments in their diaries and made calls from their home phone, wrote notes on notepads.
Now I use my phone as a diary, notepad, I write multiple texts, search the internet, and even make calls. Rightly or wrongly, it's like an extension of my brain. Without it, I go into a flap.
I had to get back to that hire car.
I ran to the gate, and asked the Qantas lady if she could please call Avis. She was immediately concerned and helpful. I found an Avis number for her to ring, she tried and got a call centre.
So I asked if I could leave my 3 children and hand luggage with her and go down to the Avis desk myself. She agreed, and said I stood a much better chance going there in person. It was 3:00. The flight left at 3:20.
I left three kids, my bag containing laptop, ipad, old iphone and two iPods behind the Qantas desk and set off after the i I was missing.
I kept my handbag with me. Goodness knows why. It contained a 750ml water bottle, a packet of Sakatas, a bag of grapes, all my car hire docs, 2 pairs of sunglasses, my notebook and 2 handballs. When I moved it made a sort of shuffle/rattle noise, when I upped to a jog it sounded like I was running with maracas.
But I had to jog. My plane left in 20 minutes and I'd lost my PHONE!
Down I galloped to the Avis counter. One of a long line of hire car counters, it was the ONLY one with a customer.
I stood and waited. It seemed as those the transaction was nearly over and I didn't interrupt, but the man serving decided to notice me and asked if he could help. I told him my plight and asked if he could call the car park office.
No, he couldn't, because he was serving someone.
And even if he could, the staff in the car park office weren't allowed to come into the airport so I'd have to go over there anyway to fetch it.
At least I think that's what he said. Because I left. Otherwise I might have hit him and been arrested.
I travelled overland, across three roads, got tangled in a crowd of tourists alighting from a minibus, trotted across two garden and several signs saying no access, until I came to the car park Avis office.
Had anyone seen my phone? No? Really? Nothing handed in? I galumphed out to where we'd left the car. It was gone. GONE! No phone found and the car was already off to be washed.
What was with this terrible efficiency? It didn't matter. My heart was sinking.
That was it.
Either it was in the car as yet unfound and I had to depend on Avis to find it, and then contact me.
Or I'd dropped it, goodness knows where.
I was never going to see it again. Four months into a 24 month contract. What was I going to do?
I felt like dragging my feet and slinking back to the gate. But of course I couldn't. I had a plane to catch and three babies waiting for me.
Back I lumbered, over the gardens, over the roads, through the illegal gates, into the terminal and up to the gate. Ten minutes to go. The queue of people boarding the plane was still pretty long. We'd held no-one up. I went to thank the kind lady who had helped me and retrieve my offspring/remaining Igadgets.
She asked if I'd seen my sister. Nooo? It transpired that while I'd been gone, they'd rung the phone (genius) and reached my sister. Who had my phone.
SHE HAD MY PHONE!!! Joy!!! She could post it to me. All was well.
I attempted to reassure extra kind Qantas lady that my sister was at Ashgrove and would post the phone. But no. Extra kind Qantas lady said she was at the airport. She'd come to find us.
SHE'D COME TO FIND US!!!
From then on, it was like a movie. The minutes ticked past, the queue to board the plane got shorter, the Qantas lady kept paging my sister's name and the gate number so she could find us. The kids bounded around, totally caught up in the excitement, looking up and down the concourse.
The queue was nearly gone, the unaccompanied minors where starting to prepare themselves to board. Extra kind Qantas lady was started to make give it up noises.
I felt awful to think my sister had made the trip for nothing.
And then...I saw her.
One last gallop with my noisy handbag banging against my shoulder. An embrace, a large child related scrum. A thousand thank you's to everyone. But especially to my wonderful, generous, kind hearted sister.