I will be home in about eight hours. I should have been home about three hours ago. Instead here I am:
I’m in a little lounge oddly grateful that I started buying six foot charging cables last year because my phone is in dire need of some juice. It, like me, has been up since 7:30 this morning EST. It has done a much better job adjusting to the time difference than I have. Celine dion is playing by the way. That seems oddly appropriate mainly cause I’m in Vegas.
I am writing this on my phone, by the way, so I apologize for the higher occurrence of typos and grammatical errors in this post.
Today was a huge lesson in attitude for me. By the time I got on the plane in Boston almost two hours late, I was totally shot and ready to give up on the day. I was ready to call it for the negative and face the fact that I would likely be alone in Atlanta for at least an additional 24 hours bouncing from wait list to wait list.
Honestly, every single representative I worked with was so nice. I’m lovingly carrying an electric guitar for the boy. He flew spirit and I don’t wanna get into how much they suck, but let’s just say taking this with him would have pretty much cost the price of his ticket. The case led to many conversations, only a few of which ended when my converser found out the guitar wasn’t mine and I wasn’t some edgy hot chick who plays an electric guitar. It also allowed me to preboard in Boston in a last ditch effort to not miss my connection to Portland in Atlanta.
As I waited to board I was on the verge of tears. I looked up and saw a woman, red faced and scrunchy and felt so guilty. I imagined she was missing something much more serious than her first New Year’s Eve with her new boo. We were all flustered. The gate agent, the only one helping anyone by the way, just needed to put in his damn code so we could start boarding. We all put the pressure of making our connections on him. But I think we all knew it was out of his hands. None of us cracked. At least not before I boarded.
When I got aboard I awkwardly made my way to my row (I got much better at carrying it when I was getting off the plane) and put the guitar up in the empty overhead bin. When the flight attendant helped me, my attempt at optimism finally sounded desperate to me and when I sat down I cried for the first time. I only cried for about a minute. But hat cry had me determined to shut out the world in anger and bitterness for the rest of the day.
Luckily, I ended up sitting in a row with David and Ken. I’m always weird about talking on planes. As most of you know (and since I have a blog) I rather enjoy talking about myself and my journey and hearing others’ stories. But I can never bring myself to talk to others. So whenever someone sits down next to my on a flight my face goes through some quicks spastic changes from friendly to an air of aloofness to let my fellow passenger know that while I’m up for a chat, I by no means need to talk to him/her. I can survive just as well without human interaction (I say this with a hint of desperation people)! Well turned out David was the chatty type. One of the ones whose family always gives him a hard time for it. We talked about everything. Starting from the guitar of course and making no logical progression to jobs, passions, philosophy, religion, meditation, business models, and my potentially getting a PhD. We awkwardly exchanged names after sharing our entire life stories.
Now Benny and the Jets is playing and I don’t think a song could make me happier at this moment!
Anyway, when our talk finally came to some kind of a natural ends when we started our initial descent into Atlanta and David had to use the facilities, he offered me to take his middle seat. I had been by the window, and he either really desperately wanted a window seat for the landing or else he was just being kind letting me be closer to the aisle. When I boarded the plane I had about a fifteen minute connection. I knew we took off late. But I figured I’d give it my all. Whenever something goes wrong, it’s important for my that I know I did everything in my power to try to make it to right.
Well that’s when I met Kevin. Kevin is a pilot for Delta. I’m a little sad to say he flies mostly Airbuses. But I won’t hold it against him. He’s a perfectly good guy and I get the sense it’s not exactly up to him what he flies. Anyway, Kevin was coming back from a trip to Europe with his wife and two sons. We chatted a bit about our crazy travel days. He too was supposed to get rerouted. Initially he was supposed to fly Boston to Cincinnati to Atlanta to Nashville. Somehow someone caught on to how crazy that was and his family made it on to the Boston to Atlanta flight at least cutting one leg off his crazy trip.
The music choices in this airport are incredible. Now it’s Frank Sinatra. Thank you, Vegas!
Anyway, turned out Kevin and his familia had a forty minute connection in Atlanta, one he was much more likely to make, but for some reason he gave me his aisle seat. He told me that since my flight was the last one out to Portland that night they were likely to hold it for me. Even though this didn’t end up being the case, I was still thankful that he gave me a reason to stay optimistic.
When I made it to the gate, the screen already read Austin. I was about ten minutes later than their final take off time. I was defeated again. The gate agent sent me to the help kiosk area where the line was long and half the people were led to a phone anyway. I called the help desk and got connected with a really awesome guy who was very patient with me. I told him “I missed my connection in Atlanta, please get my out of here tonight, preferably in a westerly direction.” He told me there were no more availabilities to Portland, Seattle, or San Francisco tonight. I started to feel a small hairline fracture form. I told him I’d go anywhere, Phoenix, Vegas, Detroit, Minneapolis. My mom taught my once it was best to keep moving. And that, along with knowing the flights from Atlanta to Portland the next day we’re all sold out, kept me pushing. But as he said no and no and no the fracture grew and I started crying again. It only lasted about a minute. Mainly because he told me he got me on a flight to Las Vegas in just a couple of hours. I thanked him profusely. It was the only time today I felt guilty for being pushy. But I was desperate to not get stuck in Atlanta.
Once we hung up I quickly did a kayak search and found a flight from Vegas to Portland in the morning that apparently still had seats. It wasn’t even outrageously expensive. I bought it and then called delta back to see if they could actually cover the cost. They said they would. I still need to call Alaska to get reimbursed. But I don’t care if I don’t. I’m just happy I will be home in the morning.
As I called delta yet again I made my way to chik-fil-a. I figured I might as well take advantage of being in the south for dinner. When I made it to the counter to order delta finally picked up. I asked if he could hold for a minute. That’s right everyone, I put an agent on hold. He was super nice though. As was the lady taking my order while I was multi-tasking. They were nice because I was nice. It’s amazing to me how many times people complain about customer service, but don’t consider the customer in the equation. Kindness begets kindness people. Plus everything that happened today was none of these people’s faults. And I’m sure they were getting enough shit from other people.
Staying positive and kind and open minded got me so so far today. I’ll be on my next flight in five hours! And the most important piece of advice today came from Kevin. I told him that if I miss my flight in Portland I was gonna try to make my way west and potentially drive part of the way home. He told me that whatever happened I should enjoy the adventure. That’s exactly what this year has been for me. Instead of living in a grey life, just making motions to get by, I took an active role and embraced the adventure. I have no idea where I will be next year, but for once, that lack of knowing has me excited rather than anxious!