Saturday, October 22, 2011

Practice What You Preach

Fraidy Cat on the Loose
Ask my frequent fliers. They'll tell you. I drive them nuts. I ask 30 times or more if they have 'emergency supplies' in their carry on backpacks. Being the loving fellas they are, they indulge me by tucking in a few basic essentials 'just in case'.

I blame it on altitude sickness. And hubris. Hopped out of bed this AM ready to rock and roll. Started packing up the last bit of debris left from conference week. Thought about those bare necessities I had been careful to tuck in my computer bag on the way out. Thought about it again. Tossed them into the luggage and thought, “Yippee! I'm going HOME!” Locked that sucker up with a TSA approved lock and headed for home via ABQ>DFW. I could almost smell the humidity. YEEE-HAAW!!

NM October 2011
Took my time lolly-gaggging back to Albuquerque via downtown Santa Fe. Was so on time I decided to head down past the airport till it dawned on me that places to double back up the highway were getting fewer and farther between. Being the smarter fraidy cat that I am after a week of travel, I high tailed it back to the airport.

Broke my own arm patting me on the back for successfully navigating rental car return, TSA scrutiny, gate checks, etc. Man on man, I was home free. I settled me back into a less than comfy seat near the gate and opened up a book to pass the time. In the spirit of complete truth, I guess I should add that I first had a double dip of Baskin Robbins Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup ice cream. It was a smart decision given how the day progressed.

I realized the plot was about to thicken when the gate attendant announced the flight was going to be delayed 'a bit.' A collective groan went up. I thought, “Well, at least I can watch the sun change the face of that mountain range a little while longer.” I'm optimistic like that, ya know. Bwahahahahaa!

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Plot got thicker when I saw the flight crew come of the plane complete with that fancy flight crew luggage and sheepish looks on their faces. Yep. Flight canceled. 
Lemme tell ya somethin' about fraidy cats. We like to be prepared. So, even tho' I never PLANNED to travel anywhere without training wheels attached to Terra Firma, I listen CLOSELY to travel blurbs on the morning news. So, I got in line with the other sheep being led to slaughter. But, while waiting, I got on the airline's #800 and sweet talked a customer service talking head so she'd book my new flight. Oh..yea...a phone call or 10 to my frequent flying husband helped too. Having geeks on call is so helpful, let me tell you.

I sidled up to a nearly empty desk over at the next gate and did some more sweet talking. The kind lady there printed my boarding pass. When I mentioned my connecting flight for the final leg home, she looked at her computer screen and choked back a grimace. She looked up, smiled a weakly smile, and said, “I'm going to go ahead and authorize a hotel stay for tonight. You might make it, but.....”

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I knew right then the gig was up. The new flight was supposed to land at 7:30p, and my connecting flight was to take off at 7:45p. Suffice it to say that I 'think' I saw the passengers on that flight waving at me as they took off while I was still circling Dallas.

The plot got thicker when the gate agent handed me a voucher for a hotel stay and directed me to the complimentary shuttle. Then, he announced that my suitcase would be checked through to the new flight tomorrow AM meaning I didn't need to pick it up at baggage claim. Meaning....I should have practiced what I preached.

On the ride over, my sardine can packed courtesy shuttle was full of passengers bumped because of the same canceled flight. There'd been some foul language at the gate. Foul attitudes filled the air. Lots was made of the '2 star' status of our 'sorry' hotel.

When there was a lull in the verbal frenzy, I spoke up. “I heard a hydraulic fluid leak grounded our first flight. I'm glad to be here and not laying in the debris of an airplane crash. The World Series is playing somewhere in town, and some folks won't get courtesy hotel rooms tonight. I'm glad I'll have a bed to rest in for a few hours and a hot shower to take when I get up.”

All in all, it won't be too bad. I'll get on the plane without having had all the essential toiletries, and, Heaven help us, no make up. I'll be wearing the same clothes I had on today. The way I see it, God has a plan. I'm trying to ignore the fact that some of that plan has to do with curing an incurable fraidy cat of her fear of flying.

Courtesy B. Creasy
Right now, I'm just thinking that, from now on, I'm gonna practice what I preach: hair brush, make up, essential toiletries, underwear, clean top go wherever I go however I go. And, I'm gonna take it like a man when my frequent flying fellas enjoy a laugh or 2 at my expense.

Love ya long and strong fraidy cat. Don't do as I do when you fly. Do as I say...and as I am gonna do from now on. See you soon?

Jeremiah 10:23 (NLT)
I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.

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