Here’s a funny story from a trip to Turkey that I wanted to share.
The elevator doors had opened twice now, and the family of seven in front of us watched them open and close with blank stares. The elevator was completely empty, but not spacious enough to fit them all and their pieces of luggage. They could easily have split the group up. Instead, they seemed to think that if they pressed the same button and waited, a new, bigger elevator would magically appear.
Expecting an easy travel day, we had woken up slowly, moving at a Tai Chi pace. My mom and I stood there, each with large checked luggage, carry-on rollers, and a backpack, debating whether to elbow past this family. I imagined using my roller as a bowling ball to knock them over like pins. If aimed at just the right spot with enough spin, they would all tumble. With only ten minutes left to catch our flight to Cappadocia from Istanbul, my mother looked to the left of the elevator at a daunting 60-step staircase. I stared at her in terror, pleading with my eyes not to make me endure that kind of physical torture. But when the elevator opened for the third time without anyone entering, we sprinted for the stairs.
We were on a ten-day trip to Turkey, but we had packed for a month-long stay. We brought a variety of clothes for different locations and climates, boots, makeup bags, and heavy coats. I should have seen this coming. I had now become the beast of burden responsible for heaving these ridiculously heavy bags up the staircase. I weighed as much as my carry-on alone. Eight minutes left.
Sweating profusely, I hauled myself up the stairs, one bag clutched in each clammy, cramping hand. The wheels on each bag snagged on every step as I painfully ascended. The stairs seemed to come to life, morphing into an escalator from hell, moving in the wrong direction.
If this were an Olympic sport, I would’ve taken the gold, silver, and bronze for my effort. We were barely halfway up, panting and grunting, trying to pull each piece of luggage up a stair, when the “Group of 7” entered my peripheral view. As I looked behind me in utter shock and annoyance, the gum I had been nervously chewing fell out of my mouth and instantly tangled in the sweaty hair already sticking to my face. The errant group was absolutely horrified when they saw me. There I was, with my gummy wet hair stuck to my face, my sweat-soaked clothes, and my wild eyes filled with adrenaline and rage. Even at 13 years old, I must’ve been the most terrifying girl they had ever seen. Five minutes left.
It felt like hours as we climbed upward, my mom screaming in the distance, “Keep moving, Ky!! Keep moving!!”
Was this hell? I made numerous promises to God at that moment, hoping for survival from this nightmare. The Group of 7 slowly walked next to us, watching with a mix of horror, concern, and a hint of amusement. As the last stair loomed before me, a beautiful, glowing miracle, I dropped to my knees in exhaustion. But then I remembered we only had 3 minutes to run to the kiosk to check our bags.
Sprinting on rubbery legs towards the woman behind the desk, I feared she might push the “security” button under her desk as we practically threw our passports at her. We made it. With a minute left to spare. She glanced at our tickets, looked back up at us blankly, and said, “Your plane left 5 minutes ago.”