I have never served in the armed forces. This is evident in three distinct ways — one of which was more obvious today than on others.
- I cannot do more than about 2-3 chin-ups in a row. For real. It’s embarrassing.
- I do not have a tattoo with my branch’s insignia. Though that would be cool.
- I cannot tell military time very well, it seems.
You know military time, right? It’s when the clock starts over at “0” every midnight and instead of switching back to “1” after the noon hour it keeps on ticking up into the teen digits. I’m not accustomed to telling time in this manner.
This is fine most days. I’m not busy doing chin ups and getting inked in honor of my comrades most days. I’m going about my civilian affairs with little interruption. If something is in military time, I barely notice. Usually this is not a big deal.
Did you know British Airways puts the times on their tickets in military time? I saw “6:20” on my ticket. I saw 6:20 on my ticket about twenty times, in fact. I never once saw the “1” before the “6.” Therefore, I was sitting at home hugging my kids and getting ready to leave for the airport when I got a call asking where I was.
“Just about to leave the house,” was my casual reply.
“Our plane starts boarding in about thirty minutes,” said our team leader.
I laughed right into the phone. You can’t put one over on Titus Benton! Not when it comes to air travel. I’m pretty detail oriented about it. I plan way ahead. I check-in in advance. I am very persnickety about my seat choice. I pack my carry-on with precision. I was more thorough this go-around, it being an international flight and all. You just don’t mess around this stuff.
Change of clothes in case my baggage gets lost? Check.
I.D.? Duh…this ain’t my first rodeo.
But seeing the “1” before the “6,” not so much. We did not leave at 6:20. We left at 4:20.
Silence. I was due on a flight that was taking off in about forty minutes, and I live forty-five minutes from the airport.
The next sixty minutes are a blur.
We sprung to action, piled in the van, squealed tires, double checked my ticket (there was still a one there, believe it or not). I weaved in and out of traffic. My son had to go to the bathroom BAD. Fortunately for him we had a cup, because we weren’t stopping for any reason. I broke a wide variety of traffic laws and made it to the airport in record time. The flight took off at 4:20. It was 4:05.
I smiled charmingly.
They called a manager…
The manager said no. Wasn’t happening. I was just too late. Simple as that.
I write all this from a comfy airpot chair at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas. The flight I thought I was on was supposed to take off an hour ago. The flight I was supposed to be on took off three hours ago. That’s right…I missed my flight to India.
There are two theological perspectives to take on this one:
- The Titus-is-an-Idiot Theology. There’s a lot of commentary forthcoming that will support this view. I, for one, will not argue against it. Calvinists and Free-Willers will unite around the truth of this simple philosophy. How can you dispute it, really?
- There Must Be a Reason Theology. And there may well be. Perhaps I’ll meet someone I never would’ve met before. Perhaps it got my trip off to a humble start, lest I think I’m in charge here. Maybe it just scored me two more hours with my kids. Who knows. I don’t, and I don’t have to. I cling to this theological perspective because, well, it makes me feel like an idiot.
Please don’t feel to bad for me. I will get on a plane in about an hour. There is a slim chance I still make my connection tomorrow morning, rejoining my teammates who got to the plane on time in the first place. If I don’t, there’s another flight to Delhi later in the day that I may snag that will only make me a few hours late. Worst case, I spend a day in London and get to India one day late. As it happens, our team will remain in Delhi for a day anyway, so it could be worse.
The lesson? There are three:
- I need to do more chin-ups.
- I need more people to view my tickets on my behalf, preferably some veterans.
- I almost had a meltdown for about an hour and a half, but I’m fine now. This day does not my trip make. It happens. And if this is the biggest snag I hit, I’m in good shape.
Who knows…perhaps there was a reason I missed that flight.