Saturday, January 11, 2014

At the Mercy of Hercules

I like visiting my family in Florida a lot, especially in the winter. I do not like it, however, when I have four flights out of Florida cancelled and end up getting back to New York almost a week later than I should have.

Such was the case after my life, and the lives of so many others (some people died!!), encountered the beast that was Winter Storm Hercules. Planes slid on icy runways, airports delayed flights hours upon hours, cancelled hundreds of flights, and shut down entirely. 

The feeling I had was the same one I would get when I would be home sick from school while something awesome was happening--sadness of missing out and not being able to do a single thing about it. Please, please get me back to my city! My life is waiting for me! I felt trapped for a day or two, and came down with a horrible case of FOMO (fear of missing out, for the uninitiated). Ultimately, though, I had little to complain about: a roof over my head, sunshine for a day or two, 70-degree opposed navigating snow-covered sidewalks and streets without snow boots in 1-degree weather in which one isn't supposed to stay outside for more than 15 minutes at a time. 

The first cancelled flight happened on Friday the 3rd. I was supposed to host an event I worked hard to develop and curate on Monday evening. There weren't supposed to be any flights until Tuesday, but I managed to find one for the next day, a connecting flight. It left from an airport an hour from my house. I got there with plenty of time and checked in for my flight, only to find after I checked in that the second leg of my flight had been canceled. I saw my nerves shriveling in front of me. Were there buses? Trains? Any flights, anywhere? The flight the airline had put me on for Monday connected in Detroit, and I was skeptical of making that connection. Hours later, huddled in front of the computer, I found one more flight, into White Plains, that would leave Monday morning at 6:45am, also at an airport an hour from my house. I booked it, not even caring that I would have to leave home at 3:30am just to be there to check in. And two hours later, it too was canceled. I would be missing my event, so I walked a team of people through how to host it (apparently it was a success, though, so hurray!).

And at that point, it felt like flights were being canceled for no reason. It was only raining in New York, and definitely above 30 degrees. It felt like no matter what flight I booked it would be canceled

Oh, and that flight connecting in Detroit was canceled, too. 

Nerves shot, I went out for a hamburger and fries. Fun fact: I love hamburgers. But that night, not even at a restaurant where the burgers where named after drag queens, could I enjoy myself. I kept thinking about what I could do, what mode of transportation I could take (the Pony Express?) to get myself back to New York at all, let alone by Monday.

I found the next possible flight out, for Thursday. I didn't even care about the date that point, I just needed to get back to New York. Just like for people, I save up a certain amount of time where I don't miss New York, where I just enjoy where I am. But after that time runs out, I wonder what else I could be doing, what I'm missing out on, what I need to be doing when I get back, and I get antsy. It's like I can't be away too long or, deprived of a life force, part of me starts to wither. One can only soak up the sun for so long! I joke, of course, and I don't mean to complain...but heaven's to Betsy, whoever that dame is, I am utterly relieved to be home.