I recently took a trip from Texas to California for Continuing Medical Education. It was intended to be a quick in-and-out sort of affair. To follow is the comedy it actually was-- and I mean "comedy". Please read to the end as you will miss the best part if you don't.
Finished a mass of paperwork getting ready for travel. Saw a full load in morning clinic. Ran home to pack at 1PM. It is now raining and cold (in the 40's).
Drove to the airport. Parked in Long Term Parking. It is raining, cold and windy. I'm close enough to the airport I can walk. I pull out my 2 pieces of luggage and one purse (big) and open my umbrella. The umbrella immediately catches the wind and flips upside down. I struggle and after 10 minutes of walking, I arrive, wet, cold, and forelorn to the airport terminal.
I get to the airline counter and meet with the word "Cancelled" on all outgoing flights for the day.
It is Spring Break travel weekend and all flights from Thursday thru Sunday are full.
They can get me out from Dallas (connecting city) Friday afternoon which would put me in California at 11PM missing half of the conference. I would have to drive to Dallas.
I arrange for a flight with a different airline that allows me to attend the lectures on Friday but it leaves from Austin. I arrange for a friend to ride with me and drive the car back to its original destination so that my car is at home.
Friday morning I am up at 5 AM and, without my glasses, it appears there is some haziness in the air. I put my glasses on. It is snowing. I cannot get thru to the alternate airline because their lines are jammed with callers. After an hour of trying, I get through--flights are on time. My 2 hour drive to Austin will not be in vain.
I get to California without incident.
I attend the conference without incident.
Sunday PM, I am dropped off curbside by a friend in California. I attempt curbside check-in. "I can't check you in ma'am. There is a delay in the flight and you might miss your connecting flight. You'll have to check in at the main counter."
At the main counter, the attendant confirms there is in fact a delay--only 5 minutes to catch the connecting flight. It is not possible. I call my husband and ask if he would pick me up in Dallas rather than having to stay overnight and chancing a problem coming home in time for Monday morning clinic.
I get to the gate and encounter a distinguished elderly gentleman wearing a leather jacket with snake skin shoes, holding a cane. He has obviously had a stroke having an obvious loss of function of the right arm and leg. He is limping heavily but is proud and determined to walk using the cane--he will not accept a wheelchair. I am immediately aware that someone on the flight has a medical problem and might need attention at some point.
The flight is delayed one hour longer because the third flight attendant is not there and has been dispatched from another airport to cover our flight and is caught in traffic--they realized she was not there as the first passenger started down the boarding tunnel. Now, we will be leaving 2 hours past the original flight time.
We finally board the flight. All goes smoothly until the pilot advises passengers that for the next hour we will need to remain seated as storms are moving into the Dallas area and a bumpy ride is likely.
We land without incident. As I leave the plane (one of the last to leave as I was seated towards the back of the plane), I encounter the gentleman who has had a stroke, struggling up the exit ramp still declining wheelchair assistance. He is breathing hard.
I inquire as to how he is doing. "Fine but I need a bathroom!" I offer advice as I am familiar with the airport in Dallas and he is not. We go our separate ways.
I call my husband who tells me he is still at least one hour away since he is caught in traffic because of the rain. I will do some work I have brought along while I wait for him to arrive.
I find some airport food (haven't eaten in several hours and it is close to midnight).
I head to baggage claim. The nice gentleman is there. He has found his son. They collect his luggage. I am waiting for the other passengers to clear out since I am in no particular rush to get my luggage.
The nice gentleman comes over, introduces his son and sends him off to get the car. He then proceeds tohit on me. I guess he has not noticed the ring on my left finger or has chosen to ignore it.
I am tired and totally unprepared for a romantic advance from a total stranger. My interest had been purely medical............Surreal. I compose myself.
"I am married, sir. Thank you for your kind offer but I am not interested."
I collect my own luggage and settle down to eat my airport food and do some work.
My husband calls. He has arrived at the airport. He is circling the terminal where we landed. I don't see him. He circles again. I don't see him.
He calls. "Don't you see me?" he asks. No cars in sight. I am now standing outside under an overhang. It is raining, windy, and cold with my luggage in tow.
I take a deep breath and look up seeking inspiration for the moment. I realize that even though the flight attendant had announced that our arrival was to be at Terminal D, there must have been a last second change. I am standing in Terminal A. My husband is circling Terminal D.
After an apologetic phone call to him, I see the familiar car and my poor husband with hair standing straight up and eyes bugged out. It has taken him 3 1/2 hours to make a 1 1/2 hour trip.
So ends the travel comedy. I am sure someone got a good laugh out of it. No bitterness here you understand.