The One Where Texas Tries to Keep Me. . . Again

In the grand scheme of things, I know these travel woes are minor. After last weekend’s botched road trip though, it just seems like Texas is trying to eat me. Any more delays and I was going to abandon my old life and start looking for apartments.

Friday
12:30pm: I get into my car to head to the airport for my afternoon flight. I could wait a bit longer, but I want a good seat to read in and time to grab some coffee.

12:32pm: I get a text informing me of an hour and half delay. Well, damn. I’m all ready to go and don’t want to go back inside with the dogs who are already waiting at the door, just in case.

12:45pm: After sitting in my driveway like an idiot, I decide to head to Panera for a cookie, iced green tea, and reading time. This plan quickly falls apart however, as I realize everything is packed since it is lunchtime and the day before a holiday weekend. Yuck. That does not sound like a pleasant reading atmosphere, so I decide to just grab a drink from the Starbuck’s drive thru and park somewhere quiet.

Eight minutes before I was supposed to board. Departure time #3.
Eight minutes before I was supposed to board. Departure time #3.

12:50pm: While sitting in the drive thru, I get a second text saying my flight will only be delayed 30 minutes. Oh good, I think. I’ll just go to the airport anyway and read there.

1:15pm: Arrive at airport. Original departure time = 2:47. Current departure time = 3:26. Not bad. I ponder whether to take a Xanax for stress (I’m not a good flyer) or Dramamine for nausea (I get nauseous if I turn around too fast). I pick the Dramamine.

1:25pm: The line at the American Airlines counter is long. And the only line in the whole airport (it’s a small one). I’ve never had good luck on American Airlines and I’m starting to wonder if booking with them was a mistake. I’m flying first class, so I get in my special line to wait. It quickly becomes clear that some of the desk workers are kind of freaking out. Several late flights (weather was not cooperating in this case) mean lots of connections to be worked out. Unfortunately, it also means they are randomly calling people out of line depending on what flight they are taking. This is not making the crowd happy.

2:00pm: I make it out of the line and through security. Since everyone is still downstairs at the counter, I breeze right through the security line. I have an hour to kill before boarding, but that isn’t too bad.

2:20pm: While sitting at my gate, I realize one of the flights the desk workers were so concerned about actually leaves after our plane from the same gate going to the same place. Way to be inefficient. With two sets of passengers waiting in the same place with boarding times that have changed multiple times, there is some confusion. It interrupts my reading.

Friday Night Dinner!
Friday Night Dinner!

Late Afternoon/Evening: The forty minute flight is uneventful, as is getting out of the airport and grabbing a cab to my hotel. My fellow conference-goers are all at a reception (I didn’t register since I would have just arrived), so I eat alone in the hotel restaurant. And when I say alone, I don’t just mean by myself at a table. I mean totally alone – there was no one else in the restaurant. I tipped my waiter well since I was probably going to be his only diner that evening. Eat. Read. Sleep.

Saturday
8:00am-2:00pm: Conference business breakfast, followed by a session about film preservation, and my first board meeting (and the reason for planning such a whirlwind trip to a conference I wasn’t actually able to attend).

4:00pm: My flight doesn’t actually leave until 9:15, but I have to check out. I have the choice of sitting in the hotel lobby (or, more likely, the bar) or sitting in the airport. I choose airport. Mistake.

4:30pm-7:00pm: I eat dinner, roam the terminal, visit the silly shops, and find a comfy seat. At some point, I finish reading the second book I brought with me and stop by the book store to buy another.

7:15pm: I get a text that my flight has been cancelled. It is the last one to Little Rock from this airport – on any airline. I’m rebooked for 8:30am Sunday morning. No one even says sorry. Sorry goes a long way, American Airlines. You can’t control the weather, but you can at least smile.

7:30pm: I hit up Dunkin Donuts for some kind of frozen coffee ice cream drink and reevaluate my situation. I’m alone and don’t want to sleep in the airport. I need to find a hotel asap. I realize that I’m lucky to be alone – not that I wouldn’t love some company, but because when I travel with other people (especially my husband) I fall back into my neuroses and anxieties. Alone, I’ve got it under control.

Stereotypical Travel Legs!
Stereotypical Travel Legs!

7:30pm-8:30pm: I book a room at the Hyatt on airport property – it is pretty much right next to one of the terminals. They make me give them a credit card to hold the room even though they are going to come pick me up in the shuttle as soon as we hang up the phone. I have trouble finding the shuttle, miss it because I’m not where I’m supposed to be, and have to call back. The shuttle eventually finds me (still not where I’m supposed to be) and the driver is great. He is the first one to say sorry for the canceled flight. In fact, everybody at the hotel expresses sympathy. This is how you do it American Airlines. I know they don’t care – they are getting my money and just don’t want me to complain – but they smile and say sorry. It’s not hard.

8:30pm: The hotel gives me a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and makeup removal wipes. They are out of women’s deodorant, so I’ll be rocking Old Spice Sunday morning. It’s better than the alternative. I order a $15 glass of wine from room service and call it a night.

Sunday
2:00am: My phone shrieks about a flash flood warning. I open the curtains of my small balcony to check out the weather, momentarily forgetting I’m naked. It is raining sideways.

2:30am: My phone shrieks again, this time about a tornado warning. The television doesn’t have a signal, so I find a local station on my telephone and check that I’m safe. The hotel is quiet, so I don’t feel like I need to be alarmed, but it is always good to check.

6:30am: Up and at ‘em. Too tired for a shower, I put on yesterday’s clothes and head downstairs to catch the shuttle sometime after 7:00.

8:45am: I finally leave Texas. The flight is uneventful, but pretty bumpy (weather again).

10:30am: Home.

11:30am: Nap.

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