I recently told someone that the only thing I miss about being married is having someone to pick me up at the airport. That may not be entirely accurate, but it’s close. Last night, as I sat on my third flight home to Chicago this month, I was again contemplating the long walk through O’Hare followed by the tram ride to the bus that would take me to my car so I could drive home. So I was thinking once again about how nice it is to have someone to pick me up at the airport.
As I was thinking about this, I was remembering what it was actually like to be picked up at the airport by my ex, and I don’t miss it much at all.
This is the almost forgotten story that came to mind.
Relatively early in our relationship I was out of town for several days at a bar conference. I think it was New Orleans, which would mean we were not yet engaged, but would be a few months later. It was early enough that I still looked forward to coming home.
The plane lands. I immediately turn on my cell phone and eagerly called him to tell him he should leave for the airport to pick me up. “We just landed!” “Hello. Where are you calling me from?” “Columbus! I’m home; come pick me up!” “So you are calling to tell me that your plane has landed in Columbus?” “Yes. I’m in Columbus. We just landed.” “So you landed in Columbus?” “Yes.” “Well that’s great. You made it home to Columbus. Where are you now?” “I’m on the plane. We just landed and I called you the second I was allowed to use my phone because I can’t wait to see you.” “So you’re still on the plane?” “Yes. We will be at the gate soon.” “Okay. So you are still on the plane.” “Yes, but I am just about to get off. I actually have to get off the phone so I can get off the plane. You should go ahead and leave now to come pick me up.” “Wait, you just called me, we can’t get off the phone that fast.” “I’m sorry, I have to get off the phone. I can call you back in a minute, but you should just go ahead and leave. I will get to see you in a few minutes, and that is much better than talking on the phone!” “No. Call me back when you have time to talk.” “Okay, I will call you back as soon as I am inside the terminal. Bye.” “Goodbye.”
Etc., etc., etc.
30 minutes later, I am waiting outside baggage claim with my suitcase, looking at my reflection in the airport windows trying to smooth my hair and look as good as possible for him after two long flights to get home. As I scan the cars turning into the arrivals area, I see him turn the corner driving his corvette with the top down. By the time he pulls up, I am beaming because I am so excited to see him. I wave as he pulls up, smiling and impatient for him to get out of the car and hug and kiss me.
He stops the car, gets out slowly, and walks around to me. I run up and hug him tightly. His arms remain at his sides. “Kiss me!” I exclaim. “No,” he replies. “Say hello first.” “Hello!” I respond. “Now kiss me!” “Well, hello. You are home in Columbus.” Trying to avoid yet another exchange about my precise location, I say, “Yes, I am home in Columbus. And I finally get to see you again! Now please kiss me!” Finally he does, but he is clearly upset about something. “Is something the matter?” I ask against my better judgment. “Aren’t you going to say anything about the fact that I drove my corvette to pick you up?” he demands. “That’s wonderful,” I tell him. “That will be a special treat to ride in your corvette. I’m just so happy to see you finally, but I’m also glad you decided to drive the corvette.” “You’re glad I decided to drive my corvette? That’s all you have to say about it? I washed it and waxed it and tried to make it look perfect for you so that you could enjoy the ride home in it.” “Thank you for driving your corvette to pick me up,” I say, trying to force enthusiasm for a car. “It looks very nice. I’m really happy I get to ride in your beautiful corvette.” “You’re welcome,” he says. “Thank you for appreciating the effort and thought I put into the decision to pick you up in my corvette.” Hoping that issue is resolved, I again attempt to redirect the conversation back to what is really on my mind which is finally being together again. “Well, I can’t wait to get in your corvette so you can drive back to your house as fast as possible! I have really, really missed you.”
And that’s when things really start to go downhill. “My house?” he asks. “I thought you would want me to drive you straight to your house so that you could unpack and shower and get settled in.” “No!” I exclaim. “I’ve been away from you for days! My house is 30 minutes away, and your house is 10 minutes away. How is there any question about where I want to go?” “Well, I assumed you would want to go home and unpack,” he repeats. “Why would you want to go to my house?” “Because your bed is 10 minutes away and my bed is 30 minutes away. And I have absolutely no interest in unpacking right now. I missed you.” “Why do you care about my bed?” he asks. “You have a bed, too. If you are that tired, I guess you can sleep in the car, although that would be kind of rude after I did you the favor of picking you up.” Doing my very best not to sigh and to maintain some enthusiasm for what was once my goal, I tell him, “I care about your bed because I want to have sex in 10 minutes, not 30.” Appearing to be genuinely surprised by this information he tells me, “Well, I wasn’t expecting you to want to have sex when you got back. I thought you would want to go straight to your house and unpack. I really think I should just take you to your house because that was my original plan. We can have sex after you unpack.” Refusing to be dissuaded, I tell him, “No. We are going to your house and we are having sex. That should have been your plan all along. Now, please let me put my bag in your car so that we can leave the airport.”
Clearly not liking this plan, he allows me to put my bag in the car. He opens the door for me, and I finally get in. As we pull away from the airport, he asks, “So do you really want to go to my house that much? I am glad you want to have sex, but you should have told me that ahead of time. I wasn’t expecting to have sex when you got back and I really can’t reprogram myself like that. I was planning to have sex at your house after you unpacked.” I tell him, “I am completely serious. I have been gone for four days. We are going to your house right now and having sex.”
During the 10 minute car ride, this continues, but at least he is driving towards his house.
“I’m sorry I didn’t realize you would want to have sex when you got back. But you should have told me. Next time you should tell me and then I will be mentally prepared.”
“Let’s just have it be a standing rule that I will want to have sex when I get back.”
“No, you have to tell me every time.”
“Seriously? Fine. Well, I’m telling you now that I want to have sex.”
“Do you still want to have sex? I think all this talk about it has ruined whatever mood there was. Should I just take you home?”
“No! You are not taking me home, and I still want to have sex.”
With each time I repeat it, it is becoming less and less true.
“No, your mood is ruined. I can tell. We will go to my house, but we are not having sex.”
“How can you say that? You should want to rip my clothes off when I get back. Now that would be a great way to be welcomed home.”
“I can’t do that. When I pick you up I have to take you home so you can unpack. Plus, it’s not like I can literally rip your clothes off now.”
“Well, I can.”
I take off my shirt.
“What are you doing?! Everyone can see!”
“Can you see? That’s the point. I am taking my clothes off right now because you won’t.”
Laughing a little, “Stop that! You can’t take your shirt off while I’m driving with the top down.”
“Oh, yes I can. I just did. And I’m not done yet.”
“Just wait until we get off the highway when we are stopped at a light next to another car. Then you’ll put your shirt back on.”
We get off the highway.
“Put your shirt back on.”
“Is that really what you want?”
“No, but you’re crazy.”
I take my pants off.
Laughing more in spite of himself, “You are sitting there in a bra, panties, and flip flops. You look silly. Put your clothes back on. You’ve made your point.”
“No I haven’t, or you wouldn’t be telling me to put my clothes back on.”
“Fine, I’m not going to complain about you taking your clothes off, but we still can’t have sex when we get back. We’ve talked about it too much, so now it’s ruined.”
We pull into the driveway. I take my bra off.
He is speechless.
He walks around to open the door for me. I get out of the car wearing my flip flops and panties, carrying the rest of my clothes. I walk around to the back of his corvette and wait for him to open it so I can get my suitcase out. I pull my suitcase to his front door, shivering just a little despite the midday sun.
He is laughing and shaking his head.
Inside, I take off my panties. We do not have sex.