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So…Day 1

April 21, 2010

Here we go.  I’m going to do it. Seven days of things I remember.  They may come from any time period in my life and they may seem pointless, but the idea is that I remember it, not that it have significant meaning.

I was in California in March of 2010, speaking at a women’s conference.  On the day I left to come home I had no idea what was about to transpire.  I found out soon enough.

I got on the plane in San Jose and in no time at all I was in Phoenix.  And that is when it all started.  I was flying on a non-revenue “buddy fare” that I got through a friend who is now retired from the airlines.  Great price but it meant I was flying standby.  Not only was I flying standby, I was the lowest dog on the standby totem pole.  Heck, I wasn’t even a dog…I was the flea on the butt of the lowest dog on the standby totem pole.  And I was trying to fly from US Airways’ western hub to their eastern hub in Charlotte, NC…during spring break season.  Bad idea.  But I didn’t even know it was spring break until I’d sat around waiting on several flights, hoping in vain to get on.  That is when a very grumpy US Air employee let me know I was an idiot for trying to fly at all during this time.  Yeah…thanks for that.  Very helpful.  She didn’t use the actual word “idiot” but her facial expressions, body language, and vocal intonations pretty much screamed it.  She told me there were people who had been stuck in Phoenix for a week, trying to get the same flight.

It became very obvious that I wasn’t going to get on a flight that day.  And so for the first time ever, I got stuck in a strange city where I knew nobody.  I had no luggage with me.  Not even a toothbrush.  And no phone charger for my dying phone.

I called Mr. Sparky and he booked a hotel room for me because I had no internet access.  I hated this.  I had been gone six days, I was severely under-slept, and I just wanted to be home.  But I trudged off to the hotel.  They found a toothbrush and a little bottle of Scope for me.  I asked if they possibly had a collection of phone chargers that other people had left behind, and lo and behold, they not only had an extensive collection but they had one that fit my phone.  There was soap, shampoo, and conditioner in the room.  I would have to make this do.  I didn’t count on waking up in the middle of the night with a sore throat and a stuffy nose, but I had some Sudafed with me and it cleared me enough that I could sleep.  The next morning I walked to the nearest 7-11 and purchased some deodorant and some Afrin.  What more could a girl need?

Well, I needed a flight home.  THAT’S what I needed.  And by midday the true state of my position became very evident.  I wasn’t going anywhere.  When I tried to get on yet another overbooked flight only to hear that the standby list was up to 82 people, I knew this just wasn’t going to work.  I went to a counter and asked a sweet little older lady named Ruth if I could change my flight to take me through another city.  I suggested Dallas/Fort Worth because I knew if I got stuck there, I had friends who would come rescue me.  She looked at her computer and said that flights to DFW were pretty open.  And flights from DFW to Charlotte were pretty open, too.  So she changed my ticket.  But…the open flights were for tomorrow.  The ones for today were booked.  I could go sit and wait and hope, but it already didn’t look good.  Still, I went and I sat and I hoped.  But nope.  Another night in Phoenix was looming.

My friend Lana called.  She had been watching my Twitter updates and getting texts from me.  She tried hard to find me a flight home some other way.  And she even found one that would fly me all night and get me home the next morning.  But…I had to turn it down.  I wanted to be home so badly.  I was tired, stinky, and sick.  But somehow I sensed I was to see this thing through, and that taking the flights she offered me would have circumvented something that I was supposed to walk through.  I didn’t want to walk through squat at the time, but I had come so far…I wasn’t going to jump out of the process now.  So I called Mr. Sparky, who went online and booked another hotel for me.  Yeesh!  Seedy to the max!  I locked my door and didn’t come out until I had to catch the bus at 4:45am, and even then I didn’t like walking across the parking lot alone.  But I did, and it was ok, and I made the bus, and I got to the terminal, and I found the gate…and all the other people who had decided to do exactly what I was doing for the exact same reason I was doing it.

But I got on.  Barely, but I got on!  And in Dallas, I got on in spite of being told that the flight was overbooked and there wouldn’t likely be room.  And once in Charlotte, it was smooth sailing.  I got on the final flight easily and had a row to myself the rest of the way home.

Two days late, stinky, and sick, but home.  My luggage met me at the airport.

I still feel like I was supposed to stick it out and stay in the process of getting home on my original (but adjusted) ticket.  I’m not sure what I was supposed to learn out of that, but I guess sometimes obedience is better than understanding.  And while I didn’t enjoy the process of it all, I didn’t die from it.  And maybe I just needed to know that much.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    April 23, 2010 6:22 am

    Ew! I think I have you beat though. YOUR cat Abby decided to give birth to her kittens on my bed in the middle of the night. Now THAT is something to wake up to. Double Ew!

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