Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Whether the Weather

Whether the weather be cold

Or whether the weather be hot.

We’ll weather the weather whatever the weather,

Whether we like it or not!


We all speak from our experience and since mine has included a fair amount of plane travel, I have the stories that go with it. Much to the dismay of my daughter Talia, who starts to roll her eyes whenever I begin to tell one: “Dad…No one cares about your boring story!”


But now it’s her turn. 48 hours ago, she set off for the airport in Paris and met her first hurdle— a Covid negative test sent to her e-mail that mysteriously disappeared just when she needed it to board the plane. After a few wi-fi re-connections, she got it just as the plane doors were about to close.


And then they sat on the runway for an hour. Of course. Which meant that the connection time in Dublin was reduced and she found herself running yet again to board— just as the doors were about to close. 


But her travel woes were just beginning. When she arrived in Chicago for her final one-hour flight to join us in Michigan, she discovered that her American flight had been cancelled a week before and she was scheduled for a flight two days (!) later. Apparently, without American letting her know about either ahead of time. She went to Customer Service and joined the line of some 50 people— with two agents. Apparently, there were tornado warnings and some 300 flights at O-Hare Airport had been cancelled. Not looking good.


So she decided to jump ship to United, booked a flight on the phone and fled to another terminal (of course) and just hoped that her luggage from the American flight would get to her someday. This might have been the end of the story, but nope, we’re just getting warmed up here. 


So the short version is that in the next 18 hours, flights were either postponed or cancelled eight different times, she took an Uber to a Best Western (paid for both herself), looked into a rental car for the next morning just in case and not a single one to be had, went back to the airport and stood online for another 90 minutes with American to find out about her luggage, witnessed part of the airport ceiling collapsing and a fight between an irate white man (of course) and a customer service representative that required security guards to haul him away, got a 1:30 United booking with that kept receding to 3:30, finally got on the plane and when she arrive in Traverse City, had to stay on the plane another 25 minutes waiting for a gate. We were all grateful that we believe in gun control. 


By the time she entered the car—miraculously, with her luggage! (another story)— she had been traveling (in one form or another) for 48 hours. We drove the one hour to our summer retreat, she hugged her mother, sister, nephew and niece and we all jumped into the cool refreshing waters of Lake Michigan, her with a jubilation unmatched by any previous visits here. 


After a lovely dinner and fun family jigsaw puzzle time, she was about to go to sleep when a storm arose with a wind that entered the cottage and blew everything helter-skelter. We rushed out to clear the deck, heard the call of our next-door neighbor who had been doing the same when her door slammed shut and locked, went over with our extra key and helped her batten down the hatches, lighting flashing non-stop over the lake and the wind feeling like hurricane proportions. 


And so the opening rhyme. We “in-control” human beings are still at the mercy of the weather, sometimes with the annoying inconveniences of flight cancellations and sometimes with deadly serious consequences. Which appear to be getting yet more alarming and threatening partly because we think it’s essential to drive to the malls to buy things we don’t need. 


Meanwhile, grateful to have the family reunited and let’s see what tomorrow will bring.

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