“Can you please wait for a minute, I’m expecting my friend to come down momentarily, she is never late”, I pleaded nicely with the cabby just outside the entrance of the Encore Hotel, Las Vegas. It was the morning after we competed at our latest three-day dancesport series competition, the NV Ball. I was already nervous, having agreed to the directive of my dance teacher Yanna to meet at 7:30AM instead of 7:00AM, my preference for departing the hotel to the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas for a 20 minute ride to the airport with enough buffer time to catch our depressing 9AM Hawaiian Airline cattle car flight back home. Yanna is indeed NEVER late, but for some reason, the minutes ticked by with no Yanna. Propping open the entrance door, I kept one nervous eye on the lobby corridor and one on the cabby who had loaded my luggage – including all of my worldly dance possessions - in his cab, my heart rate and anxiety level increased by the second. I could feel and sense her coming around the corner at any second but this deliberate visualization was all for naught - still no Yanna! A text message sent, a cell phone call made instantly connected to voice mail – still no Yanna, it was 7:38AM…unheard of lateness. Was anything wrong? The wildest fears suddenly pierced through my paranoid brain like an ice pick. Each second felt like an eternity.
Ran back to the cabby – “Listen, I need to go into the hotel and try to find her, can you please hang in here a few more minutes? I will pay you extra." The cabby responded affirmatively. Still with little trust or respect for the moral integrity of Las Vegas cab drivers (our cabby bringing us to the hotel four days earlier took me for twice the purse he should have), I had little choice but to risk the possibility of the cabby fleeing the scene with my luggage and never again seeing my carefully chosen collection of rhythm, Latin, smooth and standard dance outfits, not to mention the accouterments, all needed as prerequisite to stepping on the dance floor at the NV Ball or any competition in the future.
Other heart throbbing moments of drama followed, but the agent behind the registration desk finally consented to call the room, not without bitter protest, and after one failed attempt to unearth a human voice on the other end, I finally connected with an uncharacteristic woozy voice on the other end. “OMG, the alarm didn’t go off, I’m sorry……go ahead without me, I will find my way.” Yea, right, it was already 7:46AM, and I was sweating whether I would make it myself……I thought to myself……there is NO way Yanna was going to get out of bed, clean up, finish packing, make it out of the hotel, find a cab to get to the airport skirting a long line of travelers waiting for the same, find the deserted Hawaiian Airlines area in the airport, decipher the check in procedure and navigate the baggage tags out of the Hawaiian Airlines “automated” kiosk, stick those suckers on to the luggage, deliver them to the blank faced Hawaiian Airlines agent ready to hurl them onto the conveyor belt, get though long lines of security (without Pre-Check as I was able to do), find, wait for and catch the tram to the D gates, and find her way down a long corridor to Gate D35. Realizing the next flight to Hawaii is around 6PM, I was wondering whether I should just reset her reservations for that later flight to secure a seat.
As it was, I arrived with minutes to spare, but by the time I reached the gate, I was sweaty, panicked, and trembling. People were looking at me ready to call security to investigate this obviously agitated bearded Middle Eastern man on line to board the flight that they were also flying. Well needless to say, this experience was infinitely more stressful than competing in the 73 dance events of the competition.
To reduce my stress, I wrote this blog on my flight back home to Honolulu, and I’m happy to report that somehow Yanna was able to muster up the will, with her quick mind and quick feet to do what I reckoned was impossible, and miraculously with time enough to stop at Starbucks for a soy milk cappuccino and a tasty muffin to snack on during the flight home! While I was miserable, in pain, and timorous when she arrived, she was the picture of composure, smiling happily, and dressed impeccably as always while wearing her signature travel cap to boot! Go figure!!
I'm hoping to add just one more chapter to include some of the photos taken during the dancing by the dancesportphotography staff. That may take a few days and will only include a few pics.