Yesterday my daughter and her family sat on a plane in Traverse City, Michigan for an hour waiting for the weather to clear and when it did, the pilot’s allotted time to fly expired and the flight was cancelled. They were told that to re-book might mean waiting five days, so they rented a car and drove to Chicago six hours to get on another re-booked flight.
I flew from the same place today and was nervous about making it to Toronto where 65 people were awaiting me on Monday morning to teach. But the weather held up, the flight was only delayed an hour due to mechanical problems and I arrived in Chicago in time for my next flight. That flight was also delayed an hour, but finally we boarded and surprise! A slight mechanical problem that should be fixed in ten minutes. No, make that ten more. No, we need to get on a new plane. If all goes well, we’ll leave around 10:30 pm Chicago time, which puts me into Toronto around 1 am. Then the cab ride to the hotel. If I’m lucky, I’ll be in bed by 2 am and up at 8 to teach. Isn’t travel fun?
The irony is that it would take six hours to drive to Toronto from Traverse City. Leaving at 2pm as I did, I could have been in bed by 8 or 9. Is it my imagination or are airplanes more mechanically problematic than they used to be? Or mechanics more inept? Or is it a signal from my mistress Travel that we need to talk about the relationship? The spark is gone and the mechanics are not able to fix it.
So I sit back out at the gate with some crying children and too-loud loudspeakers and everyone head-down in their phones. I do have a ukulele at my side and I know how to use it. If I was just a little bit bolder, I’d take it out and invite everyone to sit down for a hootenanny and have a heartwarming story to tell about it all. But instead, I’m munching some Fritos corn chips and wondering what kind of shape I’ll be in for tomorrow’s class.
At any rate, please take pleasure in the fact that you are comfortably at home reading this, not wishing you were immersed in the swirl of Ghanaian dancers or eating Gelati on a Sicilian beach or floating in the crystal blue waters of Lake Michigan with a gin and tonic in the cup holder on your raft. Because all of that meant plane flights with lost luggage, delays, cancellations and long security lines, cramped seats with the person on your right the guy with broad shoulders, the one with the baby behind you, the one in front lounging back into your face, your reading light on the blink, the movies all the ones you’ve already seen and didn’t like that much the first time.
Maybe while I’m waiting, I’ll order a T-shirt online that says:
“My Dad got delayed at Chicago Airport and all I got was this lousy blog.”
PS My 30-minute Free Wifi at Chicago Airport timed out and now I can’t even post this. And I ain’t payin’ Oingo Boingo Hotspot. More salt in the wounds. But at least you’ll get to hear the exciting end to the story when I get online at 1 am in Toronto!
PSS At 10:30 pm Chicago time, we boarded the second plane, sat for an hour and yep!—mechanical difficulty. Off went 100 or so very disgruntled passengers. Twice in a row!!! They herded us down to Gate 10, we stood in line for 10 minutes and then they said, “Just kidding! It’s Gate 9!” “Moo! Moo! Roar! Roar!” Off we went again. We were now taking bets between “Third time’s the charm” and “Three strikes and you’re out.” Boarded our third plane at 12:30 or so, a bit of a wait and then, “Hold on! Is that the plane actually moving?!!!” I applauded, but everyone else was too tired. So lo and behold, we flew! And arrived! And then customs and then the taxi and then the check-in at the hotel and yes, it is 3:45 am in the morning Toronto time as I write and I need to awake at 8:00 to teach for some six hours. And all I have to show for it is this lousy story.