- Peeling clementines in one long strand
- Mixing stripes and polka dots in the same outfit
- Delaying flights using the power of my “sitting in a chair”
No, but seriously. This past Tuesday, as I was sitting on a plane that was delayed on the runway because the air traffic controller moved our take off window from 7:30 to 8:30, I was trying to count how many flights I’ve taken in the last two years (the time I’ve lived in Wisconsin) that went off on time.
Two flights in the last two years. Don’t get me wrong, as I said in my last flight-related post, I get that flight delays are very minor problems in the grand scheme. Really, I do. We get from point A to point B, and hooray! The magic of flight! But every time I go to the airport, I wonder what it’s going to be this time. Weather problem? Mechanical problem? No one could find the crew to unload the gate checked bags?* The jet bridge suddenly broke?** The plane arrived on time, but no one could find a gate agent?***
I’ve tried and will continue to try to have a good attitude because there’s nothing I can do. Nothing. But as this continues to happen, when I learn about the most recent delay, I get more and more indignant.
“Really!? Really. No, but really? Another delayed flight? ANOTHER ONE!? Where’s my “World’s Best Flight Delays” Bingo card….”
Each time I fly, the limits of my shock are tested: “Why is this happening? Am I being punished for wearing leggings as pants? Or because of that time I brought smelly everything bagels onto the plane? Because I once broke the two-carry-on rule?”
Thanksgiving, however, lulled me into a false sense of security. One delay between two flights, and the delay was for 15 minutes. Unheard of in my book. It was because of this that on my most recent trip, hearing that we would be sitting on the runway for an hour, I only got angry at myself for expecting more.
On my most recent trip, we were delayed because of a plane’s late departure in Atlanta. That’s ok. But we missed our take off window, so we got to wait on the ground. And suddenly you could see the collective starting to twitch. People are pulling out their phones, angrily enunciating, “Agent. AGENT. A-GENT” trying to get their connecting flight rebooked, but only being met with unhelpful robots.
I was on the plane at 7:30 a.m. The next flight to Wisconsin after my initial connection, according to the Delta app, would get me there at 10:30 p.m. For the next 45 minutes, I was constantly doing the mental math to decide the latest we could land and I could still sprint to my gate. As God as my witness, I would make the connection.
We land in Atlanta with 25 minutes to get off the plane, run to the next concourse, and find my gate. I’m ashamed to say, I was that person who stood up immediately after the seatbelt light turned off, even being on row 23. Don’t judge me too harshly. Despite being told her gate was only three doors down, the woman sitting beside me also decided to stand up, and based on space, she and I were forced into a position that I can only describe as “angry vertical spooning.”
It felt like all 22 rows of people ahead of me not only had to get their bags unstuck from the overhead bin, but they also had to consider the metaphorical, emotional, and existential impact of their journey. And discuss it with those around them. And blog about it. And then cross stitch it onto a pillow.
Finally I got off the plane, and went sprinting down concourse C. Now, I don’t sprint. I might walk with a purpose. I’ve also been know to jog slowly. I don’t sprint, and my pants weren’t used to it either, because they immediately start to drop in what I can only imagine is the protest form of choice of bifurcated garments around the world.
One hand trying to hold up my waistband, and the other constantly refreshing the Delta app on my phone to see if there were any updates of which I should be aware (a phone that also happened to be blasting an episode of the podcast Fresh Air because I forgot to turn off Terry Gross’ conversation with Larry Wilmore. Not a great running-through-the-airport soundtrack) I went galloping down the terminal. 13 minutes left.
I got to the “Plane Train”**** after barreling down a crowded escalator.
I was once painfully embarrassed on a study abroad trip in the UK, when a British man somewhat forcefully said to me, “stand to the right, please” on an escalator out of a metro station. I, unfortunately, was standing to the left. I wanted to seem like a native, and was embarrassed that I couldn’t swing it.
In hindsight, he handled it much more gracefully than a sweaty, twenty-something with crazy hair accidentally beaming strangers with her purse the size of a small child, and seemingly filled with bricks. 10 minutes left.
After getting on the Plane Train in the wrong direction (I was heading towards the B terminal. I needed the D terminal), yelling a prolonged “NOOOO” as I went sprinting the other direction, refreshing my Delta app twice, hearing Larry Wilmore tell Terry Gross about his relationship with John Stewart, hike up my pants for the sixth time, I finally make it to the D terminal. 7 minutes.
I can see my gate, and the gate agent, seeing me coming, and seeing the trail of humans picking themselves off the floor as I ran down the terminal with the poise of a wrecking ball, starts nodding at me. She sees me. The gate is still open. I made it.
I get onto the plane, and my legs are so tired, they give out in the middle seat of my row as I’m getting to my window seat. (Adding exercise to my 2016 to-do list!) But what just about killed me is after all of that, after weaving through countless strangers, after wondering, “will I have to be sick on the Plane Train?”, after unintentionally becoming the famed purse-attacker of Atlanta, the plane was delayed.
Not for long. Just ten minutes, but it was delayed because of course it was.
All in all, I made it to Madison. There are certainly worse outcomes when traveling, but I can’t help but imagine one day discussing my trust issues with a boyfriend and discovering they are rooted in broken promises. Broken promises that took root in the halls of an airport.
**Another true story
***Again, true story. And I’m beginning to suspect, one of the airports I frequent is actually an elaborate joke.
****A whimsical nickname, not so whimsical feeling after debating the most subtle way to be openly sick in one of its corners.
A quick, overly-earnest (some would say cheesy) side note: I have one of those apps on my phone that tells me what I posted on all my social media platforms on any given day in the past. I don’t typically share them, though TimeHop never ceases to remind me that I can. As someone who dwells in nostalgia, rolls around in nostalgia, eats nostalgia with a side of pickles as not-quite-a-day-job, I like to see where I’ve been. Two years ago today, I posted the following to my Facebook page:
Brainstorming blog titles with my brother:
Me: “My friend’s blog is called Tutus and Tea because she is a ballet dancer.”
My brother: “You could do…”
(I am expectant)
My brother: “…something similar”
He would then go on to suggest “Tartan Around”
Two years ago, I was plotting this blog. I still lived in North Carolina and needed something to do while unemployed. Two years later, I’m living in Wisconsin, and setting my sites on what’s next. My life has delivered some unexpected turns, but I’ve always had fun here.
It can be a silly place, but thanks for joining me under the parrot umbrella.