Off to Florida


My son and I are off to Florida, land of hurricanes and shark attacks, where his team will compete in the North American Roller Hockey Championships.

Our plane lands on time in Tampa, but we can’t get out. There’s a thunderstorm going on, and the people who should be outside docking the plane are all inside because they don’t want to get hit by lightning, which happens, I’m told, several times a year at the Tampa airport.


To kill time, my son takes out the video camera, points it out the window, and films lightning flashes and other planes landing, accompanied by a Hindenburg-style narration:

Here comes another plane touching down in Tampa. OH NO! TOO HIGH! TOO HIGH!

About half an hour later, the weather clears up a bit and we’re able to get inside the terminal. The thunderstorm has delayed the baggage handlers, and several flights are now being offloaded all at once, resulting in a large crowd at baggage claim.

We had checked three pieces of luggage — my son’s hockey sticks and two suitcases. The rest of the hockey equipment, we carried on the plane.

The crowd slowly disperses as people pick up their bags,until we’re pretty much the only ones left. Finally, the baggage carousel stops. We have the hockey sticks, but the two suitcases are lost.

We walk over to Baggage Services to file the report. Worst case scenario: Because we have all the hockey gear, my son will be able to play in the tournament, but we may have to wear the same clothes for a week.

By the time we’re able to rent a car and set off for our hotel in Fort Myers, we’ve wasted three hours at the Tampa airport. We arrive at the hotel around 12:30 a.m., check in, and go to bed . . .

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