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Marilee J. Layman

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02:38 pm: Going Home from Minicon 42
I took a later plane from Mpls than usual to spare me the early rising, which worked well, even though we got stuck in rush hour traffic in NoVA.

I got up, had meds & BP, packed those and got dressed. Skimmed the room for anything left, then started out with both my bags -- they're light on the wheels and I can pull one with each hand. When I got near the foyer, one of the hotel staff insisted on taking them. I was early for the shuttle, so he told me to sit and wait a bit. I got on the shuttle without even nearly falling and we waited a bit because the other guy on the shuttle was waiting for someone to come to transfer some paper to. We still got going in plenty of time. I asked the shuttle driver to drop me off at the main Northwest incoming area rather than the normal shuttle stop because there's no carts at the normal stop. He did and I got the big suitcase checked and then headed for the TSA which is right there. I was able to get my shoes off by holding on to the end of the platform with the bins with one hand and taking them off with the other -- a very stable day. I remembered to tell the x-ray guy that I had meds in the carry-on and he stopped it under the machine and then let it go. I gathered all my stuff and moved just a few feet to the blue chairs with the wheelchair logo and by the time I had stuff back in my pockets and my shoes on my feet, the right cart had come. She took me to a transfer point where I got on another cart that delivered me to the gate. I read another Smithsonian while I waited.

The gate agent asked for people who needed extra time getting in, and I went. The plane was full again, although not nearly as noisy, and I was able to sit more comfortably. I put my coat up against the window and slept during takeoff and for all but the last hour. I started another Smithsonian. I hadn't asked for a wheelchair at the other end because I thought I might be able to walk it (Dulles has elevators to the baggage claim right next to the escalators), but after going up the ramp, it was clear I couldn't and I had the gate agent call for a wheelchair.

I don't think I've ever been ignored in a wheelchair more often than this traipse through the airport. When we got to doors that needed someone to hold them open, people just streamed through, ignoring us. Finally the pusher asked a woman to hold it and she did. We got my baggage and proceeded to the taxi line. When I got to the head of the line, people behind came up as if the pusher and I weren't there. The dispatcher told them to get back in line. I got the next cab and had an easy ride home. I got laundry done that night, but it took much longer to get caught up online and with the WashPost.

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