Sunday I woke up to the best kind of email: “We are headed to Honolulu on Tuesday! We have a five hour layover. I thought if you were free, we could meet up for lunch or something. I’ll throw our swimsuits in my backpack.”
It was Wendy, my buddy from Jacksonville days! Who we saw again briefly in California last summer before they moved to Japan! The kids and I welcomed them to Hawaii with leis and hugs, coconut cookies and chocolate macadamia nuts, then whisked them away to Waikiki Beach. We parked at the Hale Koa hotel and wandered down the pathway to the waterfront pool.
“This is exactly what I think of when I think of Hawaii,” Wendy said. “A winding pathway through lush, tropical plants to the ocean.”
We had lunch at the Barefoot Beach Shack or whatever, then hopped into the pool…just in time for adult swim. That would have been a bummer, except we were ocean front! So off to the Pacific with us, to float on the gentle swells of turquoise water beneath palm trees and Diamond Head.
“I guess I could do this every day,” Wendy speculated, before adding it was probably time to head back to the airport. We changed clothes, validated parking, tromped back to the car, etc. for the 3:30pm flight. Wendy had said she wanted to be there by 2:30pm. I turned the key in the ignition and the dash clock illuminated. I sat there stunned for a second. IT WAS 2:55PM AND WE WERE NOT SUPER CLOSE TO HONOLULU. My stomach dropped. What the what?! Where had the time gone?! “I AM SO SORRY!” I was shocked at how off my internal clock had been. I thought it was like 1:30. No wonder poor Eloise had been so whiny. SHE knew what time it was.
Wendy took all this in stride. “We haven’t missed the flight yet,” she said.
Yeah but you’re gonna I thought as I looked at my map, which estimated 37 minutes to the airport with afternoon traffic.
It’s cool, if we missed it they’d just spend the night and join us at that evening’s party for the visiting Commodore, conveniently held at the house of someone she knew from a previous sea duty tour. I did all the annoying traffic things: I ran a red light. I skipped people in line. I waved and apologized and probably did the driving bow. This. is. all. my. fault.
The annoying map app directed me one way, but I saw a sign for the airport going the other way. The moment of truth. Both options may lose, we’ll never know. What do I do? I tossed the phone and stepped on the gas toward the sign. Three minutes later, we pulled up in front of the Hawaiian Airlines counter with a full 15 minutes before her flight. With quick hugs and waves to the now-sleeping Woo in the back, they dashed into the airport. Now began my torture of waiting. I pulled onto the freeway toward the Windward side of the island, wondering all the while if I’d be headed right back in shame to pick them up again.
THEY MADE IT! Too bad for me. Since she didn’t miss her flight, Wendy and I congratulated ourselves for maximizing our fun time together.
So if you have a layover in Honolulu and you don’t really mind whether you catch your next flight, let me know!