We arrived in DC at 6:15 with plenty of time to connect to our 7:15 flight to Frankfurt. After exiting the plane, we followed the signs to terminal C. Up a few elevators, down a few more elevators, and we found ourselves on the platform of two days brand-new Air Tran, the new, improved, fast way to move between terminals.
We found it odd, however, that for an international airport at in the early evening, the platform was oddly deserted. So we waited. And waited. And noticed that all of the electronic signs over the doors were blank. And talked to the other person waiting, and found out that nothing had come for 20 minutes. We checked the time - 6:40 - and asked one of the airport workers milling around if the train was going to come soon. He didn't know, but thought that probably within the next five minutes. All his response needed was an In'shallah, and we'd be in Cairo already, with the same reliability.
Hearing our plight, an off-duty flight attendant offered to help us find the shuttle busses that were still working. So, up several elevators and down several more, and the shuttle service was not not working - until 7:15.
Back up and down the same 5 or 6 very slow elevators, and we were on the platform again, this time with people leaving a just-departed train. Full of hope, and 20 minutes from our international departure, Kathleen announced that she needed to go to the bathroom. And when a 3 1/2 year old says that, they're never saying it with 20 minutes to spare.
So up the escalators this time, and a quick jog down the terminal to the bathroom with a dash back down the terminal and down the escalators, only to find a train waiting and my mother, Sophia, and Edwin gone. Our fellow platform-waiter was there, however, and told me to jump in; my mother had gone on the previous train.
Kathleen and I hopped on, and promptly went the wrong direction. Our friend, however, assured us that the previous train had done the same thing, and that we'd get to C. This train, however, after claiming that it would go to C, did not, and we got back out on the same platform we had left from.
A train was waiting, but not wanting to go for a ride in the wrong direction again, I hesitated and missed the train going to C. This time with 5 minutes before our departure, Kathleen and I jumped on the train, and ran full-tilt down the long, long passageway, passing down our flight-attendant friend on the way.
My mother had gotten there right as they closed the gate, she shouted to me, and was waiting for me in at the top of several more escalators.