This week I was in Washington, DC for a work conference. I usually love traveling, and don't mind traveling alone- its like an adventure for me, navigating around a city, trying to blend in like a local, even going to the grocery store. I love the newness of those first visits.
To add another layer of thrill to this trip, I was meeting up with a friend from my younger days; Brooke and I hadn't seen each other for close to 15 years. Fifteen years!!! I was beyond thrilled when I found out we'd be able to hook up not one, not two, but all three free evenings I had on my schedule. So the packing was in earnest Sunday night, and the alarm was set so I'd make it to our small, regional airport for the 7:45 am connecting flight to Detroit, then on to DC.
I'm out the door to the airport (literally, a three minute drive) by 6:30 am; this flight is usually full of old folks and business folks, both leaving town for destinations far and away. The ticket agent was helping another woman with something, so I proceeded to the self check-in kiosk when the other ticket agent says, "Don't do the self check-in. The flight's been cancelled for this morning." Oh, frr rrllll?! Slightly annoyed, I'm re-routed to leave from Appleton, WI; a taxi arrives a few minutes later to drive me there, $50 travel voucher and $6 meal voucher in hand. Let it go. You were able to get a new flight. I text Brooke and let her know of my later-than-expected arrival time.
Flights are smooth, baggage claim is fine, and the hotel is a three minute drive (again, literally) from the airport. For those of you familiar with the DC area, my hotel was in Crystal City; my conference, on the other hand, was in a new area (planned community, really) called National Harbor. My morning commute from hotel to conference? Well, I had choices: 1) a $60-70 taxi ride each way; or 2) yellow line from Crystal City to L'Enfant Plaza, transfer to green line to Branch station (end of the green line), transfer to NH1 bus to be within one block of the conference site. Because my per diem didn't allow for taxi service, I ended up with a 70-90 minute commute each morning & afternoon. Let it go, Rachel; you could have to try and drive in this hellish traffic.
So my days slogged by at the conference, and my nights were hours and hours of good conversations, good food and drink, and overall good company (and, for the record, I'm good at bar room trivia). Fast forward to this morning. My flight is scheduled to leave DC at 9:42 am for a connection in Detroit, then on to my regional airport. Can you even guess what happened? Yep. Flight to Detroit is fine; flight from Detroit home is cancelled. After a flurry of text messages to Daughter #1, I am re-booked on a flight back to Appleton, leaving in...20 minutes! Now, if you've ever been in the Detroit airport, you are familiar with the terminal set up: terminal A is for flights from larger hubs, while terminals B & C (parallel to terminal A) are for regional flights. The two sets of terminals are connected by a tunnel whose walls are a glass art installation that changes colors. There's even music to go along with the show; see photos here and here, and a video here .
I hate the light tunnel.
So I run in flip flops from terminal A to terminal C, making my new flight just barely. I have a minute to check my message where I find out that its NOT Daughter #1 coming to pick me up, but my was-band. WTF?! As if I didn't already have a headache. As if that's the face I wanted to see and share my stories with while driving for two-and-a-half hours. As if I didn't already just want to get the fuck home, already. I felt so mad and frustrated and helpless and discouraged and...so...trampled. Cue the iPod, over-sized sunglasses, and tears. Let it go, Rachel. It'll be over soon enough.
The drive home is awkward and mostly silent, save for small talk about our daughters and mutual friends, his mother, my parents. And then I hear this song on the CD playing, and I remind myself once again of my good fortunes, of the people I have in my life who care enough about me to stop in the middle of their day to pick me up at the airport 150 miles away. Let it go. This too shall pass. Gam zeh ya'avor. Enjoy the music and fun, and remember that it really is best to stop and reevaluate things before getting all worked up into a kerfuffle.