Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December Travel

I must be out of my mind, trying to fly through O'Hare Airport in December.

Destination: to visit my mom (Mama Ruth) in Kentucky. Yes it's a mere 10 days before my deadline (chalk up another reason to call me crazy), but there's a strong compelling factor for this trip. Mom is about to turn 91. And if that isn't reason enough to carve out a visit--she's now 90.

Ya gotta enjoy your parents while you can.

Flight from San Francisco was A-okay. Only forty minutes late. Largely empty. I got an aisle seat by the galley with lots of extra leg room. I chose the 6:00 a.m. flight so I wouldn't be connecting through O'Hare onto the last flight of the day that arrives into Lexington at 10:30 p.m. Too late, and if it was cancelled, I'd have to wait overnight. So I got four hours of sleep and arose at 3:30 to make the early flight.

I am now in O'Hare. It is 5:00 local time. I was supposed to leave at 2:30. My flight into Lexington was cancelled due to weather conditions between here and there.

Immediately I got in the line for customer service to rebook my flight. Took an hour to get to the counter. In the meantime I jumped on the ol' cell phone. Called United. The helpful guy in India was happy to book me on the next available flight--8:00 a.m. the next morning. Hey, what's it to him? In Bangalore it's nearly 8:00 a.m. now.

I accepted the reservation and kept working.

Delta wanted to sell me a 4:40 flight for a mere $689. I told the gal I only wanted to fly an hour away from here, not to New Zealand.

American held me a space on an 8:10 p.m. flight. Lands in Lexington at--you guessed it--10:30.

United--yes I called back again--would book me on a 5:40 flight to Cincinnati. Which would go through Detroit or some such nonsense and get me to Cinci after 8:00. Which would be followed by a two-hour drive to Lexington. Arrival time--the bewitching hour of 10:30.

At the counter finally, United agreed to book me on the American flight and pay for it. My bag would even be transferred to arrive with me.

A mere six and a half hours left to wait. No problem. I have a book to write.

I hit the Red Carpet Room, of which I am not a member, but my husband is. Forked over $50 to be his "guest" for the day. I figured on a quiet place to write. Much better than bustling gates.

There's food in here. I've gone through crackers and cheese, strawberries and grapes, tomatoes and carrots dipped in ranch dressing. Coffee. A candy bar. (I hadn't eaten all day.)

But quiet--not.

There are people everywhere on the phone. Talking loud. Why can't they just read the paper or something? The guy across from me right now is discussing "executing the Australian office." I think he means starting the plan but I'm picturing bullet-ridden bodies down under the water cooler.

To the left of me a self-important doc has talked incessantly to a dozen or more people. Reminding each of them how very crucial he is to the turning of this world upon its axis. He actually said at one point, "I don't trust people because I'm smarter than everybody else. I'm a cardiologist."

I stuck my hand on the side of my face so he wouldn't see my snicker.

Straight across is a group of travelers chattering in French. One of the women has a full Abercrombie bag with one of its signature well-pecced young men in a to-die-for loll. Which reminds me of taking my daughter to college last September. We were milling around campus buying things for her room, and this hot guy rings up our tab. She turns to me. "See that guy? He's hanging on my wall."

An Abercrombie model.

Time passes. The arrogant doc has left. Now in his seat is a concerned father on the phone to his wife, perusing a web site of their errant son's bad grades. Beyond him two Indians with heavy accents, talking about seed money. I don't think they're discussing corn. A woman is blathering to her daughter about her late plane. Another guy's ticking through today's Dow like he owns it. All around this place phones are ringing and computers blinging. People trot back and forth to the food, the bar.

How am I supposed to work in all this stimuli?

And let's not forget I'm only scheduled to arrive in Lexington at 10:30. I may spend the night here yet. Without a bag. It's probably been rerouted to Hawaii.

Oh, joy. Someone new just sat beside me. Can't wait to hear his life story.

Time to see what new delicacy awaits at the food bar--

Oops, maybe later. My cell phone's ringing.


Domino said...

Sounds like you could use some sound-cancelling headphones for Christmas. My husband packs his in his backpack whenever he travels. He won't leave home without out 'em.

Have fun in Kentucky!

Christina Tarabochia said...

Today on Lifestyles of the Rich and Fmaous ...!

Christina Tarabochia said...

That's how you write "famous" with a British accent, in case you were wondering.

Cindy Woodsmall said...

I just have to believe that somewhere inside your inner man is a sixth-sense-knowing that this trip to Mom's is where your supposed to be and that maybe inside all this craziness is the answer to meeting that deadline, but if not, that doesn't discount that following your heart to Mom's is the answer to the real stuff--following that spirit-led sixth-sense through chaos and back.

And if I'm wrong on all accounts,at least we're enjoying a fantastic blog post;-)

Give Mama Ruth a gentle hug for all of us.


Wandering Writer said...

After our Chicago experience, I told my husband never, NEVER, route through O'Hare again. On our return trip from Thailand (after a four week Asian tour/cruise) we were to have a four hour layover that expanded into 6 1/2 and the weather wasn't even bad! We could have driven home in 6 hours. It made our total trip home 31 hours. The only thing worse was in Xian, China, waiting at the airport 8 hours for fog to lift and the only availabe restroom had squat toilets--and oh, the smell!

Tina Ann Forkner said...

Oh I dilike going through O'Hare. I hope you have fun when you get to Mama Ruth.


Pamela S. Meyers said...

Oh, Brandilyn, if only I had read your post yesterday when you were languishing at O'Hare in that noisy lounge. I would have driven over and picked you up. Brought you back to my little condo for some peace and quiet. Well, we would have had peace and quiet as long as my cat stayed quiet. She's a regular chatty cathy sometimes. Seriously, next time you are stuck at O'Hare give me a call. I'm only seven miles away.

Rachel Leigh Smith said...

Having just returned from a week in New York, I feel your pain! I went through 5 airport and 4 airplanes to get up there, and then the exact same thing to get back.

I still don't know where my suitcase is, and I've been home for 2 days now.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Pam, I had no idea you were so close! Better shoot me your phone number, girl.