I’m exhausted! I’ve read stories in the past about famous singers canceling a show or their entire tour due to exhaustion and, I have to admit, I’ve always smirked a little. What kind of wussy can’t manage to haul their ass off their private jet or custom-made, lushly appointed tour bus to bang out a two-hour show?
I’m not smirking now.
I’m incredibly exhausted. Like, non-stop yawning, rubbing my stinging eyes, head nodding, resorting to propping my eyelids open with my fingers exhausted. I’m so tired that it feels like I’m coming down with the flu – my head and body hurt and by the time I make it home after work, I’m nauseous and running into walls.
I have to accept some of the blame for this – I spent a couple of days and nights last weekend at BlogU, drinking too much and staying up until the wee hours of the morning – then waking up four or five hours later and attempting to concentrate as knowledgeable people attempted to teach me important things.
But I think most of the blame lies with a certain airline company that used to operate only in the southwest part of the country and has overly cheerful employees that occasionally sing to the prisoners passengers.
I spent an extra day in the Baltimore/DC area after BlogU wrapped up. Daughter #2, who lives in Baltimore, picked me up and we drove down to see Daughter #1 and my granddaughter in Washington DC. My flight left at 9:45 that evening from the Baltimore airport and we left in plenty of time to drop me at the airport an hour ahead of time. There had been some heavy rain on and off that day and there were some dark clouds lurking in the West, but overall the weather looked fine – for the time being.
Once in the airport, I immediately saw that my flight had been delayed – now leaving at 10:15pm. I also saw that several flights had been cancelled and there were long lines of people at the ticket counter waiting to check in or change flights – poor suckers. I smugly breezed through security with my one carry-on bag and plopped myself down in a prime seat at the gate – only to see that now the flight had been again delayed – this time to 10:55pm. Since a heavy thunderstorm had just hit and it sounded as if the roof of the terminal might collapse at any moment, I wasn’t angry. These things happened — no one can control the weather. I shrugged and signed into HBOGo to catch up on Game of Thrones. After a half hour, I heard some angry muttering from the other passengers and looked up to see that the flight was delayed again — to 11:30pm. I started to worry a bit about the flight being cancelled due to the flight crew reaching their limit on hours – but figured that the gate agent would have let us know if that was the case. To the contrary, she came on the overhead to announce that the flight was not being cancelled – they were just waiting for the plane to come to us from Pittsburgh, where it had been delayed by weather.
Time passed, the Baltimore airport complimentary internet decided I had overstayed my welcome and kicked me offline… and my flight was delayed again – to 11:55pm. This time, it looked like the departure time was set in stone – our plane arrived, the passengers exited, a new flight crew boarded, and we were told to start lining up. Passengers happily complied. Then the friendly fellow taking boarding passes announced sadly that everyone could sit back down. The plane was “dead” and they were sending a new one for us. There was no word on the estimated time of arrival. Passengers were getting seriously annoyed, but I was surprisingly zen about the whole thing – although I couldn’t understand why the plane would be “dead” when it was right there – ready for us to board. It must have been a mechanical issue or perhaps the plane had flown all the hours it could without being inspected. Daughter #2, who had been texting me to get status updates, was concerned, but I told her all would be well. “Go to bed,” I advised her, “You have to get up early in the morning for work. I’ve already texted my boss that I will be in late tomorrow or not at all.”
Eventually we were told to gather our belongings and schlep it over to the B concourse, where our new flight would be arriving. New departure time? 1:05am. The flight crew led the way to the new gate, the rest of the crowd following behind like modern-day pioneers, pulling our luggage like handcarts behind us. We made ourselves comfortable and waited. About this time, I started pulling up hotels on my phone (on my data plan, since the Baltimore airport still was being miserly with the complimentary internet), wondering if I should make a reservation – just in case. Not surprisingly, due to the cancellations that night, none of the hotels near the airport had availability. When the plane arrived, I put my phone away as passengers filed off and the new flight crew went through the jetway. The outbound passengers began to gather up their belongings, ready to board.
Just then I received a text from the airline – telling me the flight had been cancelled.
“I…don’t know. I mean, these men got the same text, so I assume they wouldn’t send it out unless the flight was cancelled.” Her eyes widened as passenger after passenger approached the counter, holding out their cell phones like a pack of technologically savvy zombies intent on murder and dinner. She called over in a rather panicky voice to the friendly fellow standing next to the jetway door, “Did they cancel this flight???”
They had cancelled the flight – at 1:00am. And the adventure was only just beginning…