Airport Appreciation Day.

posted in: Day In The Life, Rant, Travel 11
The view from the window. (I'm not even on the plane, yet, though.) Image: Wikipedia.
The view from the window. (I’m not even on the plane, yet, though.) Image: Wikipedia.


I had a pretty funny post going. It was an open letter to my flight from New York to Chicago. I do love the open letter form, as many of you know. But that was two hours ago.

That post has been deleted because your ol’ pal Mar doesn’t feel so funny anymore. Well, not funny ha-ha. I feel more sorta funny hysterical. Not funny hysterical as in “That’s hysterically funny!” but more like”Please, please make this day end.”

At press time, I’ve been at the Westchester County Airport since 3:30 p.m. It is now 9: 10 p.m. My plane will not board for another two hours.

But before you clutch your pearls, you must know that this is actually miraculous news. For just two hours ago — let’s call it the Planestine Era — I did not possess a boarding pass for a flight to Chicago tonight. Oh, no, no, my little marzipans. I had something else — two something elses, actually. I had in my sad, manicured paw a boarding pass for a flight tomorrow with a layover in Washington D.C. which would put me at O’Hare at nearly noon. And this scrap of paper was stapled to another scrap of paper which was a hotel voucher for a night’s sleep at the nearby La Quinta Inn. (I use the phrase “night’s sleep at the La Quinta Inn” loosely.)

It has been, as my dear mother would say, “Airport Appreciation Day.”

First of all, let me tell you that I understand the following:

  • No one is hurt, no one has died.
  • No one ought to be getting on a broken plane.

This is what I have been telling myself for the past seven hours. Perspective is crucial at times like these. Perspective is a tool that, as an adult, you simply must employ on Airport Appreciation Day. Otherwise, you are in danger of acting like a child and I assure you: A child is precisely what you want to act like when you’re in my situation. I get it.

Remember the days when you were at a slumber party or a circus and you pitched a fit because you just wanted to go home?? Remember how no amount of candy or toys or hugs and kisses from Mommy or Daddy or Gramma or Grampa would console you because you were tired and angry and fed up and grouchy and probably there was something going on with your poop (sorry, but you know I speak the truth) and you just freaked out because everything was lousier than it had ever, ever been, ever and NO NO NO.

Yeah, I know. But difference between children and adults is that we know better than to do that past a certain age. Oh, we have exquisite reasons to freak out. The feelings are totally legit. But when we’re grown, we have to try harder. We must breathe. We must recognize the humanity in the people who are working ticket counters and serving sodas on airplanes. After all, they are just like us. They are trying to earn a living. They do not wake up in the morning, stretch, and think to themselves, “How can I have the worst day of my life? How can I cause suffering in my fellow man? Oh, I know!”

No. The people who work at the airport wake up everyone else. They wake up like you. With few exceptions, these folks are trying their best to like, avoid hideousness.

I saw some hideousness today. Tonight. People yelling. People disgusted with each other. It was rough. And I wasn’t a cool cucumber the whole time: When they told me I wasn’t going to sleep in my bed tonight after being in three states this week, hot tears started pouring down my cheeks. Some people in the line might’ve thought I was a drama queen, but I assure you, those were real, bitter tears.

But I knew to dry up before long. This is life. This is travel. The man behind me, he lashed out at the ticket people working through the long line of exhausted, bewildered passengers. I’m not saying I’m better than than that guy; I’m saying he couldn’t overcome his inner, tired, sad child. Tonight, at least, I managed to overcome mine.

Writing helps me live my life. That’s why I do it. Writing is how I make sense of things, so as I wait here at the gate for two more — please say just two more — hours, it’s my only comfort. My blood pressure has dropped. I am breathing easier. This is the gift I have in my life. It’s you, it’s my journal, it’s my book. For me, I always have an escape route. Letters and a page.

Wait! I didn’t tell you how it worked out!

Right at the moment when I was leaving the airport to go to my sad, sad hotel room, there was announcement: American Airlines was going to see if they could get a plane over here to Westchester County to fly us to Chicago. I raced back through security. We all waited with bated breath. Then, the good news came: Yes! Yes, there would be a plane! It wouldn’t be here till 10:40 p.m., but it would come!

So I had a glass of wine with a few other folks in limbo and then I came down here to you.

11 Responses

  1. Christine Houghton
    | Reply

    Hope all goes well. I’m tired from just hearing about your airport adventure. You’ll enjoy your home and bed more now because you survived another airport episode. Cudos to you for hanging in there. Travel safe. Have a good night.

  2. Bonnie
    | Reply

    Personally I dislike the Westchester airport…. of all the area airports that’s the one my husband would get stranded at most often.

  3. Q
    | Reply

    That is a rough and rocky road you are travelling right now, PG. Hang in there. A proper bed with a proper pillow and comfortable surroundings awaits you.

  4. Baa
    | Reply

    Oh I really hope your plane came & you get to sleep in your own bed.
    Blessings, Baa

  5. Carol Hendrick
    | Reply

    Someone once taught me what I consider the First Law of Traveling By Air;. It is better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, then in the air wishing you were on the ground. Glad they found you a plane…hope you are safely home now!

  6. Karen Weiderman
    | Reply

    You are the Traveling Queen now.
    Always act the part!
    No hysterics, no drama….
    Always as nice as you can be
    You will get great results this way.
    Best of luck!

    P.S. Loved your presentation yesterday”You call that a Quilt!”

  7. Martha
    | Reply

    Hope you are home and tucked in to your own comfy bed until at least noon.

  8. Kathy Kelner
    | Reply

    Hello Mary! I know how hard it is to travel now a days. Flying can be a challenge. Just wanted you to know that I saw your lectures on Sunday at the Northern Star Quilt Show and totally enjoyed your input, your wonderful sense of humor and you wit. Now – get some rest, something nice to eat and take care. It’s over for now, but we will all have more days like this in our future. I traveled on the Hutchinson River Parkway, Whitestone Bridge and the Long Island Expressway yesterday! I understand your pain! Take care! Kathy Kelner

  9. Anita Brayton
    | Reply

    This post deserves a donation! Any airline traveler can relate. I recently experienced something similar in 2 legs of a trip.

  10. Kathy Isaacks
    | Reply

    Mary if it’s any consolation my friends from NY and PA loved your lecture. They thought you were very funny! Wish I were there instead of Chicagoland .

  11. Kathryn Darnell
    | Reply

    It is so hard to have travel plans delayed, postponed, and canceled. I don’t care if there is a cute little boutique hotel for layover, when I am tired I want my bed, my pillow and my sheets. I want HOME. Tears reflect your absolute sorrow, that yelling man was just a rude mess of testosterone….people don’t respond to yelling but will break their backs for someone with absolute sincere tears. Glad you are home.

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