by Miles T., Age 16 , Grade 10, Amery High School, Amery, WISCONSIN USA
Fueled by hope of escaping the relentless winter, I energetically flopped out of bed at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 4. My dad, brother, and I had stayed at a hotel near the airport, so we didn’t need to get up quite so early. We didn’t unpack our stuff the night before, so we were able to just pick up our luggage and leave. The trip from the hotel doors to the truck was miserable, having to venture through the burning cold. The heated seats felt like a cure for imminent death.
When we arrived at the parking ramp for the airport, we all filed out of the comfort of the truck and into the frigid 14-degree air. I noticed the blood-red shuttle van a few rows of cars away, so I wasn’t concerned about how horribly underdressed for the cold I was. I was wearing sweatpants that barely reached my shoes, a tank top covered by my sweatshirt, and a baseball cap. I had no idea how terribly wrong I was. We only waited for 6 or 7 minutes before we got tired of freezing and tried to yell over to the driver of the shuttle van. With no success, my dad whistled with the sharpness of a gunshot. To my surprise, even that didn’t get the driver’s attention, despite him being less than 50 yards away. After that failed attempt, we used the key to set off the alarm of the truck; he still didn’t hear us. We eventually gave up, went to a service phone, and called to ask someone to send a driver to pick us up.
We piled back into our truck to keep ourselves of freezing to death. Still warm from when we first started driving, the jet-black leather seats were so comforting that it seemed like the whole world just paused and was at peace. On occasional success of keeping my eyes open, I could grasp the image of what seemed to be the van that should be picking us up start driving towards us. I let a little hope enter my dazed mind. The van simply rolled past our truck. I thought that it might back up, but my dad said that it was probably just driving around from the other side to line up the door with where we were. I had figured that he was right because he goes to airports multiple times every week and would know these things. Quite on the contrary, my dad was wrong, and the driver just kept driving. We kept waiting for I don’t know how long, and eventually, a van came to get us and our luggage.
After being shuttled to the airport, we cut through most of the security lines with the privilege of my dad’s high priority membership with the airport. We left our luggage with a friendly woman who set it all onto a conveyor that took it behind a curtain of rubber strips, and into a black abyss. We then proceeded to the metal detectors and the array of guards. I emptied my pockets into the little metal tray that reminded me of a dog bowl. I put my wallet, earbuds, phone, chap stick, and flash drive into the bowl and watched them proceed through the X-Ray. My brother walked through the metal detector first, and I watched the light on the top turn green. I was next. I knew that I didn’t have anything metal on me so I wasn’t worried, but there was still that part of me saying, “what if it did happen?” I walked through the metal detector, and I didn’t hear anything.
What could have happened? A million different things were racing through my mind about why I could have set off the metal detector. I felt my face getting warm, so I knew it must have been cherry red. I was confused as to why it went off, and why the guards there hadn’t approached me yet. I had figured the guards there would immediately take anyone who set of the alarm.
“You have been selected for a random search,” said the woman operating the X-Ray. I immediately felt relieved, but I also was a bit concerned that I had to go through another search. Luckily, it wasn’t a full body search; I needed only to give her my phone. I didn’t see exactly what she did with it. I thought that she might have plugged it into her computer, but I wasn’t sure. She gave it back and I carried on, as I would’ve without the search. After my dad got through the metal detector, he told me the random search was a search of my phone for a bomb that potentially been hidden inside.
My dad had seemed rushed to get into the airport, but now that we were here, he seemed less uptight. We went to a Caribou Coffee shop to get what would be our breakfast; I wasn’t very excited about it though, because I have a particular distaste for the bitterness of coffee. There was food there though; I ordered an apple cinnamon muffin. After eating it, I felt unsatisfied because the texture of the muffin felt mushy. We proceeded on towards our plane.
Upon arrival to boarding area, we headed to the shorter of the two lines because we were priority fliers. We needed to show our passports to the person standing near the entrance to the tunnel that leads to the plane. We passed into the plane and on entry, all I saw was faces of different people. The faces were of all genders, races, and ages, but none of them looked particularly happy which surprised me. I walked by the various faces as the first of our 3-person group. If not for my dad, I would have walked past our row because I had no idea where I was going.
After we had all became situated in our seats, and numerous announcements from the captain, which I had mostly ignored, I was able to use the screen that was attached to the back of the seat in front of me. I was scrolling through the options of movies as we had started to take off. After the plane had finally taken off, I decided to appreciate the acting of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson throughout the movie Hitman’s bodyguard. The movie had been enough to pass the time until we were just above Atlanta, Georgia.
As the plane descended, I watched the infinite sea of clouds pass by. I couldn’t tell if the clouds ended at our altitude or kept going up; they simply never ended. I didn’t have time to make a conclusion because the plane dropped below the clouds. The plane landed smoothly and I could feel the air around me getting warmer. I also had noticed that the air in the plane made my nose sting. I figured it was because it wasn’t natural air, but was clean, pressurized air that had been in a compressed tank and released into the plane. I left my phone on airplane mode throughout the duration of the flight because I didn’t know if you were allowed to have it on I was happy to turn it off and reconnect with all the people back home that were trying to talk to me.
We had about 20 mins before our next flight took off, so we walked to our boarding location, got bored and decided to walk around some more. We had thought that maybe we would get food, but we were too indecisive to get any. Fortunately, I bought some perfect white sunglasses that reminded me of my skin. They weren’t the exact sunglasses I had wanted; the ones I had ordered with next-day shipping had not arrived at my house before we left, so we canceled the order.
After we purchased the sunglasses, we went back and boarded the next plane that took us to San Jose California. Throughout that flight, I again watched a Ryan Reynolds movie: Deadpool. Although this flight was longer, so I also had time to appreciate the stellar acting of Laurence Fishburne and Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. We descended to the clouds before that movie was over, but I wasn’t concerned because I had seen the movie a million times. My stomach wasn’t feeling that great, so I tried to pay attention to the movie and nothing else. After a dreadfully long ten minutes, the plane landed.
After we had all escaped the plane, we waited for multiple hours to get through customs. We meandered outside with our luggage and kept wandering until we saw a man with a green piece of paper that had our last name on it. I had equipped my sunglasses because it was so bright. It seemed like we were right next to the sun, and I realized, we were on the equator, so the sun is technically a lot closer. After I had my sunglasses on, I set my suitcase near the driver, and he loaded our luggage into a van. We got in the van, ready to explore the wonders of Costa Rica.