Because God wanted me to have lip gloss...I knew I was going to have problems when the plane, originally designed to leave at 1 pm, didn’t begin boarding until 1:05. It was a full flight and we boarded quite rapidly. I was in the very first row, which is lovely for legroom, although my seatmate appeared to have a unique sense of humor (anything serious was reacted to with an alarming statement followed by “just kidding”, for example, “No I can’t work the emergency exit – just kidding!!!” ”Turbulence? Give me the barf bag now. Just kidding!”). We taxied onto the runway, and then proceeded to stay there for 30 minutes. We finally took flight around 2 pm and it’s about 30 minutes to Newark. With my flight leaving at 2:50, this was bound to be close.
There was a substantial amount of turbulence on the way, and the extremely nice flight attendant was busy handing out Coke cans and trying to help people’s nausea. I was deep into my book and barely registered the bumpiness of the ride, except for sighing with exasperation when the book shook so hard I couldn’t read it for a few seconds at a time. But we finally landed, and after about 10 minutes of deplaning activities (the ramps, blah, blah…) I was in Newark Airport.
I purposely booked the flight through Newark because 1) I’m a native of New Jersey and there’s a brand of slightly rude or blunt customer service which is comfortable to me and 2) the airport is designed so all the major airlines have their gates together. My incoming flight and departing flight were both labeled “Terminal C” in my itinerary so I thought this was a little stroke of genius on my part so I wouldn’t have to go to far.
Ha, ha. I disembarked at Gate 73 at 2:45 and where was my departing flight due to leave five minutes later? Gate 127 – three “concourses” away. Like the devil’s pitchfork, the Continental gates have three “prongs” each with approximately 20 gates. Murphy’s Law (whatever can go wrong, will go wrong) would have it that I would have to book it across the airport at a jog, towing my wheely suitcase and my extremely heavy extra-large pocketbook with my computer, book, water, i.e. everything heavy. Thinking of the importance of the chiropractic science, I hustled in the manner of an Olympic slalom skier hustling around backpacked toddlers and the sheer dumbfounded staring at the departures screen.
I was just approaching Gate 127 at 3:01, noting with cheer that there was still a plane there, when yet another well-positioned departure screen caught me in the peripheral vision. My flight number was listed next to Gate 96!!! I immediately turned around and started running (I was damp with sweat and my calves were burning – oh, to be an in shape field hockey player or cross country runner now!). Panting up to Gate 96 at 3:05 I was gloating that they still seemed to be boarding when I caught sight of the display behind the gate desk – Flight 166 to Cleveland???
It turns out that my original flight 1610 to Ft. Lauderdale did leave – on time – from Gate 127, but then the display switched to the next flight (also 1610 to Ft. Lauderdale) departing at 5:25 from, you guessed it, Gate 96. Sorry I had done so much running, I bought a liter bottle of water, went to the Continental counter where they got me on the 5:25 flight (thank you Wilkes-Barre airport guy for reserving me a spot!), and went to the bathroom. Now my mission was crystal clear. God meant me to find lip gloss.
I can clearly see the signs. The friendliness of everyone making an annoying situation as pleasant as possible, the ease of navigation in the Newark airport to shops and restaurants, etc. I would have undoubtedly experienced a complete lack of lip gloss acquisition at the hotel in Florida, so here was my quest. Find something appropriate during my new waiting time.
You can’t go on a quest hungry, so I went to the Garden State Diner and had a terrific early dinner of a barbeque burger with good fries and a FABULOUS dessert. Some kind of peanut butter cheesecake with miniature chocolate chips in the cheesecake part, a chocolate cookie crumb crust and a layer of fudginess on the bottom. Topped with a caramel chocolate sauce and crumbled peanut butter cups, this thing was heaven. If this kind of strata can be studied professionally, I’m ready for geology!
The diner was a neat place – very bright and 50’s looking (authentic 50’s not crap 50’s) and they played Elvis music the whole time I was there (pre-dissipated, drug addict Elvis). Every waiter was extremely good-looking, toned and Latino (they spoke beautifully accented Spanish to each other). They were all, my waiter included, very pleasant and attentive but I got the impression that they all went clubbing together regularly in the city. Hmmmmm. I left a large tip and went away feeling warm and fuzzy about that cheesecake!
There are so many stores in the Newark airport; more restaurants and fast food places, naturally, but an astonishing array of stores. I began to get a little frustrated, though. I could get a sports jersey for any New York or New Jersey team or buy a handcrafted reproduction Faberge egg in the Smithsonian store, but what I needed was LIP GLOSS, people, not Thomas Jefferson pajamas.
Finally, I saw in the distance a sign that appeared to say “Pharmacist on Premises” so I knew they’d at least have something from Cover Girl or at the lowest end a colored chapstick. But I had hit the jackpot – it was a high-end pharmacy specializing in all kinds of fabulous all natural products, including a full line of Dr. Haushka products (which are super shee-shee and expensive). There were a ton of attendants in there and I explained my lip gloss dilemma. The young woman gave a very empathetic head nod and took me right to a wonderful minerals-based cosmetics display (and I only use mineral-based cosmetics like Aveda or Bare Minerals)!!!!! I found an incredible lip gloss (Candied Rose, a natural pink) and I got a great lip balm just in case. The Lord works in mysterious ways.