Airport hell

Friday night, my 10:05 p.m. flight turned into an 11:45 p.m., then 12:25 a.m. and finally, a 1 a.m. flight (and I wasn't even flying American).

I already felt a little subdued and blah from drinking a couple of pints after working all day then riding a bumpy as hell bus out to Dulles for about 45 minutes (not smart) ... and my dad now lives about 1.5 hours from the airport, so you can imagine the great mood I was in thinking that I wouldn't see a bed until about four in the morning.

I go get some food, waste time and when arriving back at the gate ... that is when I started feeling like Neal Page.

I went to the counter to check the flight status fearful because it was no longer on the departure screen. The airline agent knew nothing about what was going on.

Enter my own Del Griffith who quickly stepped up to give me the updates his BlackBerry was feeding him. I was happy to hear the flight was still a go, but I should have known ... He was just too eager.

We stood waiting for the news we were switched from a C gate to A terminal. "Come on, let's trek!" he says after introducing himself as Michael.

NOTE: I know this list gets crazy. Feel free to skim to not feel overwhelmed, but I had to list everything I could just for the sheer scope of it all.

In the 15-20 minute walk and shuttle ride, I learn:
-North Carolina is home for him
-He grew up in New York
-He's a rocket scientist, but now travels as an information technology salesman
-He has two girls and a boy, 8, 5 and 2
-If he moved to Indianapolis, he'd have Colts season tickets and go to the 500 every year
-The first 500 he watched was Danica Patrick's rookie year
-He's more of an F1 guy, but not NASCAR because the cars look like they're driving through mud
-His wife started liking F1 when he demanded to watch qualifying on TV
-Her favorite driver is Kimi Raikkonen
-His friends make fun of her because he's a drunk
-Her sports interest goes 1) figure skating 2) "American" football 3) F1
-She's a Patriots fan
-He feels bad having a second car since he travels so much, but he loves his Acura MDX
-He deserves it after keeping a Camry for 10 years
-He liked it so much he traded in his wife's 7-year-old minivan for another one

Here is how I feel on the shuttle:

When we reach the gate, I'm able to get away to use the restroom and make some calls to let people know how delayed I am. I tried switching rows of seats as a hint.

When he realizes I'm off the phone, he moves into my aisle and starts up again. I check the time ... still 1.5 hours to go.

The additional things I know about this man:
-His kids go to a private school that has grades K-12
-Elementary school students make banners for homecoming
-He's thinking of taking a teaching position there to stop traveling, and he'd at least get tuition reduction
-One parent working there gets a 50 percent reduction, both parents working there gets 75
-Trying to make finances work, but his wife would have to go back to work to do it
-She had a master's in health administration, but hasn't worked in nine years
-His dad was a lawyer that worked long hours and went to teaching to spend more time with him
-He was an only child
-Doesn't understand sibling rivalry
-His family has five cats
-His house has a walkout basement with screened-in porch that the cats love
-The cats all got along except Daniel didn't like the last one to come
-Daniel hates Wendy and bites her tail and it gets infected
-Their 2-year-old pet frog just died
-He thinks it is because she just laid eggs, and it really wipes her out every time
-He worries that his son should have a dog
-He had a British Blue cat as a kid that loved being brushed (he acted this out from the cat's perspective)
-The cat could differentiate the sound of the brush dresser drawer opening from others and would come running
-His oldest daughter doesn't get her room painted until she cleans it
-He'll have to paint it purple with a pink border

I'm sure there was more, but I can't remember it all. I have never been around someone that would just NOT STOP talking.

It was amazing. I may not know this man's last name, but I know more about what is going on in his life than I do about many of my friends.

This is how I felt when finally boarding the plane:


UPDATE: Robert Montgomery Knight will bring me back to Volkswagen

Best part of the evening:

Jayhawks do NOT make me happy, but Bob always can. :)


I appear put together, but I might be losing it

When I got home on Monday, a folder awaited me on the floor. In it, a request to answer more questions for an Indy company I submitted a resume to ... on which they would base their decision to bring me in for an interview.

Of course I was happy they were interested, but my mind raced with what to say to make sure I’d get into their office. I spent all last night on it ... walked to Kinko’s at 1:15 a.m. (even after some motherly questioning from Jen), and this morning it was ready to send off.

I wanted to feel relief that I completed it before their deadline. Relief that it was finished, and I could sit on my ass and relax after work for the rest of the week. Or just relief to not have to think about it.

That didn’t happen. Instead, the morning devolved into a signature Elaine-type moment. I walked to the post office, paid the man my postage and watched him toss the envelope back onto the mail counter.

Sitcom-style, I had flashes in my mind of all the things I wrote in response to their questions. Should I have put this? Should I have added that? Was it too much? Not enough? I can’t let this good career move slip away.

On Monday, I felt excitement they were giving me the chance to move up in their candidate list. On Tuesday, I was tired from the writing and making sure everything was perfect. And on Wednesday, I looked at it one last time on the counter feeling clamped down upon because it’s out of my hands, and as I have been doing for months, I wait.

I walked to the metro and three times considered running back into the post office to ask for it back. I still had two more days after all. I could still write more for the first question. I could add more insight. I could do SOMETHING.

I pushed forward as I wondered ... Would he give me it back? Is there some rule that after the postage goes on, it can only go to the mailer? Would I go back and see beady, Newman eyes as he laughed? I could see "Seinfeld" unfolding in my head.

So I kept going. Even halfway down the escalator into the subway I paused and thought I should go back up, but I didn’t.

It’s en route. Keep your fingers crossed for me!