Monday, December 13, 2010
My Worst Nightmare
When I walked into the airport, the line was already so long it hung outside the building. We waited for hours just to check in. I knew my flights had been cancelled and had already spoken with a very unhelpful woman who told me it would probably be several days before I escaped from NewYork. I got to the front and another lady did what she could. She put me on standby on a flight to Atlanta that if if left on time at 3pm I could then catch a flight to Huntsville, Alabama that left at 6pm What were the odds? The people in front of me in line had already waited for standby seats 3 times and I was the 10th person on the standby list. But I went and waited. The bathrooms were filthy because thousands of people were crammed into terminal C praying to get anywhere and also, apparently, peeing on the toilet seat and floor in their anxiety.
The waiting areas spoke of the cultural differences between North and South. There were so many people there weren't anywhere near enough seats so people were sitting and laying on the ground. I looked around and saw women in their 60's and pregnant women sitting on the floor while young men and middle aged men mostly had the chairs. I was switched between gates 6 times and as I struggled with my bags I was pushed aside for being to slow. After my standby flight came in later than expected, one woman told me she could get me on the next flight to Atlanta. She said just to take it because I might not get out of New York for a while. She said take it even though all the flights to Huntsville from Atlanta were oversold. She gave me a first class ticket and I figured I was at least closer to home. May I say that first class is amazing. They fed me a meal, gave me liquor (which I needed), warm towels, and kept my drink glass full. It is amazing how much the little things matter. That terrible, half froze, airplane sandwich made me feel like everything was going to be fine.
I made it to Atlanta and I knew I was back home in the South. Several gentlemen offered to help me with my bags instead of pushing me over. In the full train, gentlemen gave up their seats for ladies and elderly. The South may have its problems, but they also know how to to be kind and unselfish. I was happy to be home. I went to the last flight to Huntsville and found that it was almost empty. Everyone who was meant t be on the flight was trapped somewhere and virtually no one had made it to their connecting flight. I made it home and I've never been happier to be back in the South, even though it is colder here than it was in New York.