Being thankful for New Yorkers
I don’t understand the electronic device rules on airplanes. I hardly see how my iPod and headphones could possibly make a plane crash. Pilots apparently believe in a little thing called electro-magnetic interference (EMI) and how it affects their navigation system. Science doesn’t necessarily agree with the pilots, but because it spends its time working out how long sex should last, Science can’t compete with the pilot’s union. All I know is it means I can’t drown out the lady behind me who is chatting up the off duty male flight attendant. By the time the time the pilot announces an equipment problem on the plane, I know the steward went to Mississippi State to get his meterology degree but has since had a hard time finding a job. If I had a ball-gag, I’d not hesitate to use it.
Indeed, it was an equipment problem that is largely summed up by saying a panel on the right wing somehow came loose, but, not being all that important, was not given much of a second thought. That understood, apparently the seal under the missing panel was very important. This was decided after leaving us on the plane for an hour and then telling us to find our way back to the terminal.
Although it wasn’t official yet, I knew in my heart that this development would somehow mess up my plans to fly to JFK then on to Nice. I started to feel the slightest tug of anger on my aorta, when the forty-ish New Yorker lady in front of me started talking.
“I can’t believe this,” she said. “I can’t fucking believe this.”
Tears of frustration had welled up in her eyes. Every move she made was with with the jerk of someone who is about to fly off the handle. Seat belt? Jerked off. Coat? Jerked on. Carry-on? Jerked out of the overhead. “I could just cry,” she said to no one in particuar. “I just can’t fucking believe this.”
In the aisle, an old bald man was quietly walking upstream, muttering, “May I please pass?” He seemed polite enough, but a different New York lady snapped at him for attempting to make his way to his bag.
Once off the plane, we were told to rush to another gate, because a different aircraft was ready to take us to New York. I didn’t rush with the others, because–again, in my heart–I knew it was a fool’s sprint. Once at the new gate we were told we’d be boarding in five minutes. About an hour later, a new announcement came over the PA system. I am paraphrasing here, but it went something like, “We just canceled your flight. Tough luck, you whiny bastards.”
The New York contingent exploded with apopleptic indignation. Their trip home was going to be delayed again. All the while, the most calm people at the gate were a group of southern folks that had just missed their connecting flight to Istanbul (all Constantinople jokes were lost here, unfortunately). A lady with a thick Carolina accent said, “No reason to be upset. There will be other flights.”
Again, I also knew that my plans for an easy trip had just been scuttled. After 45 minutes with a fairly helpful Delta Airlines supervisor, I was re-booked through Paris. All in all, I would end up traveling for 24 straight hours before reaching my hotel. The funny thing was, our second flight was allegedly canceled due to weather. What made it humorous was the fact another flight to JFK took off at the exact same time, and, quite remarkably, had my luggage on it. Apparently, the weather only affected our flight.
A day later, I’ve been able to put it all in perspective. At first, I couldn’t figure out why I was so calm about the whole debacle and lost luggage. It hit me later. The New Yorkers.
When the rest of the world is freaking out for no good reason, it’s a lot easier to chill out and work to change the things you can. Despite it all, I don’t think my blood pressure ever got elevated. It’s freed my mind up to focus on other things, like why my sense of smell is suddenly as powerful as any of my senses, what is going to happen to the place on my hands where a broken glo-stick spilled, and why the inside of said glo-stick smells so incredibly bad.
Thanks, you whiny New York hotheads, for keeping me sane on another insane trip. I might just survive this one, thanks to you.