(A true story for the letter T)
I have fleetingly mentioned spending a lot of time in the US travelling when I was a child. In a reversal on the usual procedure, my role was often to look after my father. He was spectacularly eccentric and my mother deemed me a proper person to make sure he got to places on time. She had done it for many years and felt that her 12 year old daughter would make a decent substitute. Or something. I've never known quite what her reasoning was.
However it came about, G and I found ourselves going on a jaunt to Mexico via San Francisco before heading to New York to catch a flight home to England. Ever practical, mum made sure that I was the person looking after passports, visas and flight tickets. "Make sure you tell your father the flight is two hours earlier than it is." was her parting advice as she saw us off.
It was well-intended advice. G habitually ran late everywhere and his notion of comfortable travel consisted of drinking half a bottle of wine, swallowing a nembutal and crashing out in a cacophonous snoring heap until the flight landed. Minor details like knowing where we were supposed to be staying he could deal with, but airports did not bring out the best in him.
G and I liked travelling together. I didn't mind the snoring and rather enjoyed whimsical side-treks to wherever took his fancy. He let me stay up late and was unfussed by my desire to live entirely off Pepperidge Farm cookies. It was a win-win as far as we were concerned. Stage one went very smoothly. Atlanta to San Francisco was a complete success. I went with him to whatever lab it was he was supposed to visit and cheerfully broke some software. We went to see Godspell. We ate some nice meals and looked at San Francisco which I adored and have never visited since. Onwards to the airport for the journey to Mexico.
Following mum's advice, I managed to get G awake enough to arrive at the airport comfortably early. I was so proud of myself. He wandered off to the bar while I book browsed and we met up to have some lunch. Over which he announced that he had taken his pre-flight nembutal. Two hours early. This was not good news. Oh how my sensible lie had come back to bite me in the bum.
Working our way down the marathon walkways of San Francisco airport, we duly arrived at the departure gate and I took my eyes of an obviously rather woozy G to make sure we had the relevant tickets. When I looked around again, he had vanished. He stayed vanished. The flight was called. He was still vanished. I could only think of one solution. He must have gone to the Gents and the nembutal had kicked in. By now, I was the only person at the departure gate and announcements were blaring all over the airport demanding that Professor Pask present himself immediately.
Major panic ensued. I was not going to investigate the Gents by myself. Masterminding my father was one thing, but that was way out of my remit. I got on the flight and demanded to see the captain. Where I explained that my father had probably passed out in the Gents and could they possibly go and get him for me. To the infinite credit of Delta Airlines, they did just that. I've been grateful to them ever since.
This, of course, was before we got trapped at Mexico airport when we discovered that my visa had expired. Same journey, but another story.