The freight runner screeches to a halt next to me. There is an impressive amount of smoking rubber in his wake. He gleefully plants a full size surfboard in my already overflowing freight cart and speeds away. I can hear his laughter over the scream of the jets. I like to see people happy in their work.
As lovely as this fucking love connection is he has unwittingly created a bit of a problem for me. You see all the other freight in the cart is going to one destination while the board is going to another…in four hours time. I know that if I don’t move it some well-intentioned crew member will ship it somewhere vile. Yes..Columbus,Ohio I’m looking at you.
Of course it’s the busiest time of the day and just about every plane,tug,pushback,beltloader,baggage and cargo can is doing three things at once so I’m still carrying a fecking surfboard by the time I finish my search. It has to be said that this was very amusing to the passengers and crews. This particular gate was wedged in a broad V formed by two wings of the terminal so plenty of people saw me scuttling from one pool of shade to another with a surfboard under my arm. You see it had to go somewhere. You just can’t leave it on the ground,out-of-the-way somewhere because you’ll forget about it when the next ball of chaos rolls over you. Or the owner of the board will chance to look out onto the ramp just in time to see it get run over by a lavatory truck.
Eventually a solution presented itself (It was slow in coming because of the heat that day) and I lashed the thing to the back of my gate’s pushback tractor with bungee cords ( a good crew chief will always have some on her/him). Now a pushback is sort of squat,diesel-powered bastard love child of a Mark IV Panzer and a Massey Ferguson. If people were amused by me running around with the board they were breaking their arses laughing at it strapped to that beast.
A while later I was in the middle of pushing back a California bound plane when the captain chimes in over the headset.
‘Duuuuuude…….come with us. Surfing sucks in Baltimore.’
‘Don’t tempt me lads. I’m susceptible to temptation right now’
We disconnect the towbar and the crew clears us off. I pull back to where they have visual on us and wait for the guide agent to hop in for the drive back to the terminal. I snap off a salute to the cockpit and get two Shakas in reply.
I am immensely cheered by this.