Saturday, December 6, 2008

Out of Bullets

Scene Set Up: If you couldn’t tell from other blogs or from knowing me in person, I've been working a lot lately. I'm on the books as a part-time employee at Workday, but the reality for about the past five months has been something more all-encompassing. The fruits of my labor have ripened recently, however (i.e. my projects are done), with December 5th being the day I was going to reclaim my life.

I had been in California a few weeks ago; went home to Vermont for Thanksgiving week; then back to California the first week in December. Due to time zone differences, I usually don't get enough sleep when I travel. I've been fighting a cough, congestion, and sinus issues for about 10 weeks now. And suffice it to say, I was just plain dog tired.

On December 5th, I was scheduled to fly home for hopefully an extended stay before my next business trip. I had stayed at my friend Amy's house the previous night, and our plan was to drop me at a BART station where I'd pick up a train to San Francisco International. Breakfast at the airport.

Due to a run-in with some old friends at Amy's kids' school, she dropped me off a little later than we both had planned. At the station, I had to wait about 12 minutes for the train. At the airport, I boarded the wrong AirTrain and ended up at the rental car hub instead of my terminal. Then at my terminal, the quick check in didn't work for me because by now, my flight left in less than 30 minutes. My only option: The live check-in agent at the front of a long line of people.

So I'm pretty certain I'm missing my flight. I step up to the counter, hand the agent my information. He takes a quick look at it, shakes his head, and tells me with a slight chuckle that he can't check my bags in because I’m way too late.

I tried very hard to stay controlled, but my tear ducts let loose (damn those tear ducts), and tears started rolling down my face. I was having an adult-onset meltdown. Hungry, tired, thirsty, and wanting terribly to be heading home -- completely "out of bullets" as my friend Romy says.

"What do I do?" I snuffled. The agent typed away at his keyboard for about three full minutes without looking at me. I tried hard not to full-on sob at his counter. And I tried not to be too embarrassed that I was crying over something that wasn't a hugely serious issue.

"Any of the flights to the East Coast will arrive too late to get you into Burlington tonight." My only options are to fly to Philly and stay the night, or schedule a flight out of San Francisco the next day. I wiped my eyes and took Option 2.

So I BARTed back to Romy's, and my outlook improved. I scheduled a red-eye home instead. Bought some cozy sleeping clothes for the flight. Enjoyed a gorgeous afternoon in the Bay Area. Happily visited with other friends in the evening. And boarded a flight shortly before 10 p.m., wearing my airplane "PJs" and primed for sleep with Dramamine. I even purchased the airline-standard pillow and blanket to help be that much more comfortable for the sleep coma I was planning for.

My travel karma still hadn't recovered however, and I spent a more typical night on the plane. No comfortable position in 30-40 different attempts. Earplugs sticking to the pillow and falling out. Neighbors not turning off their television screens. No noticeable effects from the Dramamine. And the fleece blanket creating enough static electricity to rival a wool sock in a dryer.

So as I write this blog, I'm sitting in the airport in New York, waiting for my Burlington air shuttle. I'm still dog tired and my hair is probably standing on end in places from static, but I've shifted gears a bit and am now counting December 6th, today, as the day I'll return a more normal and manageable pace. After a nice Saturday afternoon nap at HOME.

(698 words)


  1. Welcome home! I will not bother you with any phone calls today but I hope to talk tomorrow.


  2. ok, that was one sad story. i'm happy that you made the most of it, but there's no place like home....
    if it makes you feel any better i have sobbed at more than one airline counter over the years, for similar reasons.

  3. Talk about a fun trip.....ya!!!!Next time will be better. Sorry I didn't get to see you! Hell

  4. You poor thing! How frustrating not to be able to get home when it's time.