Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the Thirteenth

Well, the Husband has left me.
Not permanently, of course. He knows he’d never get away with that. But he’s flown on ahead to the Iowa family farm, while I go to work tomorrow like a supposedly grown-up person (you might say… a “so-called grown up”? haHA!), and then fly out to Des Moines after work. In the meantime, however, it’s just me and you, Internet. I think I’ll just go… slip into something more comfortable.

On second thought, I’m already sitting down, typing, and it’s kind of a lot of effort to go into the other room to change into something else, that isn’t actually more comfortable at all. It WOULD be more comfortable if I could put on my fuzzy slippers and frumpy pajamas, but it’s about thirty-four degrees TOO hot for that in this house, and anyway, I’m guessing that’s not what you had in mind, is it, Internet? IS IT? Your mother would be ashamed. I ought to call her up right now and tell her so, but she’s still on dial-up.

(Maybe if I didn’t use that same line of reasoning with the Husband, he wouldn’t have flown out so early. Hmm…)

Anyway, I will be flying tomorrow evening, and I have to say that I am a little bit nervous about traveling on Friday the 13th. Not because I am a superstitious person – I pick up tails-up pennies all the time, and I walk under ladders, and I had a pet black cat named Lucky, of all things – but because the last time I scoffed at traveling on Friday the 13th, rather dreadful things happened. Namely, THIS:

Maybe I should back up a little bit. Let’s imagine that you are me, six years ago. It is August 2004, and you are about to trot off to college for the first time. Considering that you have lived all of your eighteen-and-one-half years in Ohio, save for four weeks that you spent in Normandy (two of which were spent largely in battling gut-wrenching homesickness), your mother is justifiably concerned that you have decided to go to college in Orlando, Florida. But you are going, and you are equal parts petrified and rapturous about the future. You and the family chuckle a bit about the fact that you are leaving on Friday, August 13 – the dorms don’t even open until Sunday, but you, your sister, and your mother are going to enjoy the weekend in Orlando before you move in.

You get an earlier flight than your mom and sister, because your ticket is one way, and theirs are round-trip. You hear on the news in the couple of days leading up to Friday that there is a tropical storm somewhere down around Florida… but Florida’s a big state, and the little projected path on shows it going somewhere else entirely! You’ll be fine. You finish packing. It’s the night before you leave, and you’re too excited to sleep! So you stay up and watch re-runs of Laverne and Shirley while imagining your incalculably awesome future:

You go to the airport, leave your mom and sister (and half your luggage) in the Columbus terminal, and board your Southwest Airlines plane to Orlando.  You buckle your seatbelt and wait.
"This is your captain speaking. Uh.... facing some weather conditions down south... uhhhh... with any luck we'll land this thing in Orlando in about two hours."

Well.  You can't really do anything.  The plane is in the air.  So you eat your peanuts and wait.  Sure enough, the plane lands in Orlando without a problem, and you breathe a sigh of relief.  The worst is over.  You de-board, gather your bags, and settle onto a bench by the information desk.  Your mom and sister should be getting in around 2:00.  It's 1:40.

You check your watch (because it is 2004, fool, and you don't have a cell phone yet!).  It's ten past three.  They're probably about to land.  You engage in some disinterested people-watching.  Twenty minutes later, you check it again.  And ten minutes after that.  And every ninety seconds after that.
At about 3pm, it dawns on you that you are, after all, sitting right by the information desk, and they might actually have something resembling information.  You inquire about Delta flight ####, and the gentleman behind the desk shakes his head.  His lips move, and it looks like he's saying something like "CANCELLED."
You are quite shaken.  You drag your heavy bags behind you as you frantically locate a pay phone and call home.  Your mother answers, which cannot mean anything good. Apparently, Delta's finest informed her that they did not consider it safe to fly.  They told her this AFTER your flight was already in the air.  She's a little on edge.  Oh, and that little Tropical Storm Charley has turned into a Category 4 Hurricane.  It should hit Florida by nightfall.
So what do you do?  The only thing you CAN do.  You tell your mother that you're all right, and that you will take the shuttle to the hotel and hunker down there.  You can only hope that plan will work.  But when you hang up the phone, it's not a good feeling.

To Be Continued ...

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