This here bringer of the pooper to the fun party

A leisurely day at SLC International

On the Wednesday morning that I left for New York I arrived at the airport only an hour before my flight was scheduled to leave. This is not normal in any way whatsoever. Normal is two hours or more. Three hours is sometimes too late. I’ve mentioned here before that I am chronically early and no where in my life is this more glaring than when I’m traveling by plane. Anything could happen between my house and the airport. Anything. Traffic. Power outages. Car trouble. Measles. Hair loss. Cavities.

To make matters worse, Tyrant routinely offers to drive me and I routinely take him up on this offer. He’s gotten much better over the years and takes the route that I prefer and not the one that winds up through Idaho and back down through Oregon, but there have still been instances when I can sense he’s going to miss a turn or worse, brake unnecessarily at a stop sign, and I’ll have a heart attack right there. He’s far worse for my health than high fructose corn syrup.

The night before that flight a small storm had rolled in and the tail end of it was still lingering over the valley. After I got through security I high-tailed it to my gate because I only had 45 minutes to spare. And in that 45 minutes, in that short walk from security to my gate, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ could occur and while I’d be really happy for all my Mormon friends and family, I’d be justifiably pissed. You choose NOW to come cleanse the earth? Why not wait until I’ve at least boarded!

Along the walk to the gate I realized the airport was far more crowded than usual, people spilling out like Skittles everywhere. Here’s a serious question, and maybe you can help me answer it: what type of person do you have to be to stand at the entrance to the gate three zones before yours is going to be called? Oh wait, I know the answer: an asshole.

If you’re seated in Zone 3 and are standing anywhere near the entrance to that gate when they are pre-boarding those who need extra time or assistance I am legally allowed to walk up to you and poke you directly in the butt. For free. No questions asked. A judge would look at the complaint and go, “It says here you’re an asshole. I would have poked you harder.”

By the time I got to my gate I had heard more than several people talking about a plane getting hit by lightning. Ahem. Clearing my throat for a second because now that I write that I realize HOLY SHIT. LIGHTNING. The thing that comes out of the sky and destroys entire forests with one zap. Just then someone came over the intercom and announced that MY plane, the one that was supposed to be departing in 43 minutes would be delayed temporarily due to some “mechanical issues.”

You know what else can happen between my house and the airport? APPARENTLY LIGHTNING.

lateflight

That temporary delay very quickly turned into a four-hour rescheduled departure, and when I texted Tyrant to let him know I’d be parking my butt at the airport for awhile he immediately started to do some investigative work. The line to try to rearrange flights at my gate trailed out into the terminal like a wandering vein, so I hopped over a few gates to do some investigative work of my own.

“Hey there,” I said greeting an agent, nary a complaint or whine anywhere near my throat. I used to work for an airline, remember? Agitation will get you nowhere very quickly.

“That flight to NY over there, the one that’s been delayed… you know anything about it?”

He immediately put both hands on his head as he began to shake it.

“Not in the 34 years I’ve been doing this job have I ever seen anything like this!” he shared.

“Was it lightning?” I asked.

“Yes. It was. And they’re saying at least five others.”

“Wait,“ I said holding up my finger. “Six planes got hit by lightning?”

“At least six, yes,” he answered.

“IN UTAH?” I shot back incredulously. THIS IS UTAH. My kids have no idea what a thunderstorm even sounds like.

“Yeah, crazy, right?” he said. “All as they were landing. Been a weird, wild storm.”

Because I have a bit of mileage under my belt he did me a favor and booked a seat for me on a later flight in case my flight experienced any more major setbacks. I thanked him, and as I was walking to a shop to grab some water Tyrant called to let me know that he’d secured a seat for me on yet another flight because, well, my plane had been struck by lightning. And they weren’t replacing it with another aircraft. They were “inspecting” it back at the hangar.

If you ask me THAT is exactly what the Second Coming of Jesus Christ looks like.

This other flight was leaving soon, so I had to run to another terminal to make sure I boarded on time. I had to shove my way through a crowd of people MOST WHO WERE NOT GOING TO BOARD FOR AT LEAST 100 MORE ZONES, heart-racing, out of breath only for the screen at the gate to suddenly broadcast that it was cancelled. What followed next is certainly the basis for all those scenes in television shows and movies where the character is running through terminals, accidentally knocking people over and awkwardly apologizing, sweat beading on her forehead and upper lip. I racked up over 7,000 steps on my fitbit racing from one cancelled flight to the next, finally ending up at my original flight begging for my seat back. So what if it had been struck by lightning. YOLO, am I right?

Here’s the odd thing: I fly all the time. In both 2011 and 2012 I flew over 60,000 miles. Last year alone I flew over 75,000. I’ve experienced a few delayed flights over the years, but I have not ever had a day like that at the airport. In Utah. Where it routinely snows four feet in less than two hours and pilots can still land the plane with their feet while taking a selfie with one hand and cooking an omelet with the other.

The good news is that the gate agent gave me back my seat, and when we boarded the pilot announced that they had “borrowed” this plane from another route. I think he was lying and chose to announce that bit of news instead of this one: “Holy shit, did everyone see that Donny Osmond is sitting in row 4? No? Well, it doesn’t even matter if this is still the plane that was struck by lightning because now we have the Lord’s blessing!! WOO WOO!”

  • disqus_DDmiTjOk4G

    Wow! Your life sounds really hard!

  • KristenfromMA

    I hate to fly. The news that my plane had been struck by lightning would have rendered me a useless lump, collapsed to the floor in a fetal position. i don’t know how people get used to it.

  • GirlWithTheKittenTattoo

    If it were me, I’d be spending the entire flight watching every fuselage-ripping-open-people-getting-sucked-out-the-back-of-the-plane scene on the inside of my clenched tightly closed eyelids.

  • susanfishy

    I’m not afraid of flying.I’m amazed by it. Every time. Everyone else just sits there like ho hum, here we go, and I’m all dazzled by flight. Was Donny really on your plane?

  • disqus_DDmiTjOk4G

    I know! I’m so happy she made it through that ordeal! What a mess!

  • Heather Armstrong

    Yes. He was. I really wanted to tell him what a fixture he had been in my childhood but I know he gets that all the time.

  • Breanne

    I’m not afraid to fly, in fact, I still get awestruck when I do… but this, this would have scared me.

  • Ria

    Was he wearing purple socks??

  • Heather Armstrong

    Shit! I didn’t think to check!

  • TWM

    I got caught in a flight delay cancellation from Springfield, MO that involved a drive to Tulsa, OK for a new flight! Yes, a rental car and a hotel room, then delayed flight through Dallas that missed my connection there –24 hours later I got home! I can relate to your story and I love the running and leaping through the terminal images.

  • Tracey Thoen Hornung

    Crazy Horses is seriously one of my favorite songs, it is on my ipod. Everyone thinks I am nuts.

  • RzDrms

    The same type of person who spits their chewed gum onto the ground, that’s who. :-/

    Also, I find it hard to believe you could be earlier to your flights than you are to your movies at the cinema. 😉

  • Suzy Soro

    And he LOVES to hear that all the time. It makes him feel better that he’s on the death spiral by cutie plane.

  • Donny Osmond scares me more than lightning.

  • Sasha

    Those people? They’re called “gate lice”.

  • susanfishy

    That’s what happens whenever I have the chance to meet someone famous. Everything I can think of to say either sounds like stalkerish gushing or is something I know they hear forty times a day.

  • Alexis

    Makes sense. He was doing the New York talk show circuit.

  • Rory J. Thompson

    (Shyly raises his hand…) Yeah, I do that “Zone-Jumping” thing, but…but, I’m from NEW YORK. We’re kinda REQUIRED to not really follow the rules; they’re more like “guidelines,” really. Plus, the gate-attendants just wanna fill the damn plane already, so they’re only scanning tickets and praying they get the “Ding!” and not the “Buzz!” of “Something-wrong-with-this-ticket,-Chief” notification. Besides, we only do it (our numbers are legion) so we can get our bag in the overhead, and not trust it to That Goober who “says” he’ll put in the belly, but who we know is TOTALLY lying to our face, and then planning to leave it on the tarmac. So, Zones? “We don’ need to show you no stinkin’ ZONES!” –Rorrington

  • Shannon

    i love Crazy Horses. I was first introduced to it on a CD left in a rental house in England. The CD had no label so I had to do some sleuthing myself. I bust it out all the time to stump my friends. No one ever knows the song and no one EVER believes me when I tell them who sings it.

  • I always find it very exhausted and I always find it crazy. And in that case You are really quite lucky.