Such a Day...You Would Not Believe!
Happy Birthday Adrian!
My journey, unlike the journey of some of the others, required that I fly in. My home to my fathers home is traversed in 3 days by car, and, 5 hours by plane.
Having covered this distance by both modes of transport, I was certainly happy to know that I would be departing the major airport in my city at 10:30am on the day before my father's celebration.
As one who is experienced in traveling by air, I prepared myself efficiently, made all of the arrangements for the care of George, my dog and, gladly anticipated the day of departure. This was going to be great!
My Father turned 90 years old in June of 2014. As is fitting, my niece and eldest brothers orchestrated a family get-together to honor this great man on this unique occasion.
Brothers, sisters, cousins, children and an assortment of other relatives, both current and "ex" were invited. People who understood that reaching the age of 90 is a milestone began their preparations to attend the party.
I was one of those people.
A Subtle Foreboding
As the day of departure approached, I felt more and more as if I was being set up. Actually, I felt more and more as if I was being led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be temped of the devil. You know what I mean? I felt like I was supposed to go, but, I also felt that there would be a test for me once I got there.
My eldest brother and I were a little extra-polite to one another because as often is the case in families, we'd had a few 'words with attitude" earlier in the week. Could that be the source of this feeling of foreboding?
My youngest brother and I are similar, socially speaking. A lively pair who by no design of our own find that people naturally gravitate to our delightful personalities. We are also known as the siblings who have not always made the best financial decisions. I look at him and raise my right eyebrow while he looks at me a and raises his left. Go figure....
My second eldest brother is a complete love-bug. Always kind, always calm, always comforting. I have never seen him at odds with anyone... YAY!
Considering these areas, did not resolve this feeling.
What was the source of this feeling? Perhaps, my dad would be irritated. Perhaps my mom would be unavailable? Perhaps this, perhaps that. I could still not determine the reason for this feeling of foreboding?
The Day Arrives
The day of my departure finally arrived. As the day progressed, the mystery surrounding the strong feeling of foreboding began to lose its mysteriousness as follows:.
I am prepared. I dress, I prepare my 6-year old houseguest who has spent the night with me, to leave as well. I bring my red carry-on bag to the car. Secure the child in his booster seat, get in the car, pull out of the garage and proceed. This is it, we are on our way!
Approximately 2 miles down the road, the wonderful little child in my backseat asks, "Where is your red bag?" I say, "Why, it is back there with you. Don't you see it?" You already know what his reply was... "It's not back here with me. Did you leave it at your house?"
After retrieving my bag from the garage where I'd left it... we again began our journey to the airport. This time, we make it there without interruptions.
What About You?
Have you ever had technical problems while flying?
The Airport - Atlanta
I am so glad to be at the airport with everything in place and ready to go. I present my ID and my preprinted boarding pass and proceed to the gate. I have settled in and am waiting for the call to board the plane.
Everything is still going as expected until the agent tells us that the flight is over-booked and that our carry-on luggage must be stored in the under-belly of the plane. Still no problem. I tag it and they bag it. I felt the relief of knowing that I would not have to fight with the overhead bin.
Things seemed to be looking up.
The First Flight
My journey to my Father's party necessitated my booking a connecting flight. The flight plan was, from my home to Dallas and then from Dallas to my Los Angeles, and, eventually to my Father's home.
As I have said, I am an experienced flyer, so, please believe me when I tell you that the first leg of my journey was filled with unusual air turbulence. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that it felt like a roller coaster. At any minute, I thought somebody was going to throw-up. Please, please don't let it be anybody sitting near me... Please..)
The air turbulence rocked us and it rolled us; up and down, up and down. There were 30 foot lifts and 60 foot drops. It seemed as if it would never end. But, after prayer, it finally settled down and we made our way to Dallas.
The Airport - Dallas
I like the Dallas-Frt Worth Airport. It is inviting and uncluttered and like everything else in Texas, it is BIG!
But, I digress...I must continue as my adventure continued to unfold.
The Dallas to Los Angeles leg of my flight was akin to experiencing a muscle spasm. The flight is on time, boarding is easy, people are bustling around putting their carry-ons in the overhead bins, wheels first, taking their seats and adjusting the little air flow "thingys" overhead. We re ready to go....this is where the spasm begins.
Suddenly, and, I do mean suddenly, the power goes out. No lights, no engine sound, and, (gasp) no air flowing from the little "thingys" overhead.
Now, please remember, we are in Dallas, Texas at 12:30pm on June 13, 2014--- It is HOT!
Hot-lanta (a nick-name for Atlanta) has nothing on Dehydrating-Dallas! The passengers on the flight along with myself, uniformly and spontaneously give out one, and only one sound. It is a soft, short, "Oh...". I am sure that people who were inclined to say more than that thought better of it and silenced themselves out of courtesy and respect for others.
Are You Serious?
It would be nice to say that our adventure ended here. That we all got on an awaiting plane and that we all flew happily on to our final destination.
Well, that ain't what happened.
On The Plane
The force of patience flows freely through the aircraft as we wait for the electronic reconnect to kick-in. As we sit it begins to warm-up on the plane. Whatever coolness that was left over in the atmosphere before this air conditioners stopped blowing was beginning to dissipate. We were sucking it up trying to breathe.
In the place of the air conditioned air, we breathed out, the carbon-monoxide that our lungs exchanges with oxygen. It began to fill the atmosphere and along with it heat and thoughts of air-borne diseases. Still we wait.
After the first 5 minutes the pilot comes over the speaker and tells us that the electricity has given out, 9Really???), and their our technicians headed our way to fix the problem.
Now, I don't know about you, but it is not comforting to me to know that someone is about to come and "duck-tape" the electrical system on an airplane. Especially one that I am flying on. (Let me get my Bible out...KJV).
Ten minutes pass. The system threatens to start twice, but after 3 to 5 seconds if fails. (It is really getting hot in here, thank God my fellow passengers seem calm as cucumbers).
Ten more minutes pass, (isn't there a law against this)..The pilot comes back on and begins to speak when suddenly the system comes alive. Hooray, the air is back on, but, is the plane safe to fly? The captain says, "Well, ladies and gentlemen it looks like we have a green light. I was just about have us abort this flight, but, now it doesn't look like we have to do that."
As soon as he utters these words, the electricity fails, again. Our wonderful captain pauses and then says, "Oh no, Ladies and Gentlemen, please, get your stuff and prepare to de-plane. We are scrapping this flight!"
Well, that was just fine with all of us. We did just as he's said, we got our stuff and got off the airplane.
Help Me With This, Please....
Is it me, or do airlines make you feel like they are doing you a favor?
We de-planed and were told that a new plan was being prepared for us and we could wait in line at the gate where were for a new seat assignment or, we could go down to gate C-16 and board a plane there. We were at gate C-21, so the walk to gate C-16 wasn't too far.
Several of us walked down to gate C-16 in anticipation of boarding the next plane out. We'd all become good friends by now so, comradery was keeping us in good spirits.
As we walked and talked, we recapped how patient and calm everyone had been on the flight we'd just de-boarded. The comment was made that seat was running down backs and foreheads, yet, no one complained.
Other comments about people not fainting or throwing up were made and there seemed to be a general consensus that only God's grace and mercy kept us from experiencing any of the aforementioned incidents while we were locked in that plane.
Soon we were at gate C-16.
After 15 minutes or so of chatting, there came another spasm. This spasm was in the form of a gate agent exclaiming without the use of a loud speaker, that, "Your flight has not been canceled! You do not need to be at this gate, because, YOUR FLIGHT HAS NOT BEEN CANCELLED!!! Please take the train to Concourse A, gate23!"
The sense of calm and good humor continued to prevail, [that had to be a miracle of enormous proportions]. We proceeded to the train and on to Concourse A, gate 23.
The Conclusion of the Matter is.....
Getting Closer....but, Still Not There
Dallas-Frt Worth airport is big! Thank God for the train! When we arrived at concourse A, gate 23, we heard a rumor that we would be boarding our plane in 15 minutes or at 6:30. By the way, I was due in Los Angeles at 5:30.
We waited, and waited, and waited. The 15 minute rumor turned out to be a real rumor because 6:30 came and we still were sitting... 7:30 came and, still we sat...
At 8:15 the announcement came that both our plane and our pilot were in place. Oh, the shouts of joy! The sense of relief! This moment will forever be memorialized! And, look, that young man is crying... such happiness...
We boarded the plane, taxied onto the runway and up, up and away, we were finally airborne. YAY!
We arrived in Los Angeles, California at 10:30pm. I had been traveling a total of 15 hours... I could have driven from my house to the middle of Texas in 15 hours.... not complaining, just saying.
Am I Ever Going to Get There????
I just really don't want to talk about what happened at the car rental company and the hotel. There were challenges at both locations.
Suffice it to say, I got my rental car at 11pm and got settled in my hotel, which was 3 blocks away at 12:30am. [I am glad that I asked for a late check-in.]
The party was very nice... it was wonderful seeing my relatives, some of whom I'd not seen in years. There was peace, harmony, love and a lot of good food and fun. We told the same old stories about the same old situations much to the chagrin of two male cousins, one of whom muttered under his breath, "Will they ever forget 'that' story??".
Sorry, cuz... we will probably tell 'that' story every time we get together, because, it's a real classic, and, because, everybody laughs as if it were the first time they'd heard it.....
As for my great travel experience, I suppose it will be relegated to the same family stories archives...