Oh, poor blog. How I have been neglecting you. It’s been almost three weeks since my last post. Thanks to those of you who responded; what I really learned from it, unintentionally, was that some people who I thought read my blog apparently no longer read it, or at least want me to think they no longer read it. Or maybe they read it but have no desire to leave comments. The other thing I learned was that although my blog automatically posts to Twitter when there’s a new post, most of my Twitter followers don’t click on the link. I say this not to wallow; it’s just that it’s helpful to know who your audience is when you write.
Last week I went to Houston for a few days on a business trip. I have to attend a conference every year in Houston, and this one was a bit of a slog, because I was either sick or sleep-deprived much of the time. A week and a half before the conference I came down with a cold, and by the time I left for Houston, it was still working its way through my body, or at least through my nostrils. On top of that, for three nights in a row before the conference, I slept terribly. The night before the conference I couldn’t fall asleep until around 3:30, and then I woke up twice over the next four hours. This despite having a sleeping pill prescription, Sonata, which I’ve been taking two or three times a week for the last several months. Since it didn’t seem to be working for me, I worried that maybe my body was becoming immune to it.
So on Wednesday morning I woke up to go to the airport, feeling exhausted and shitty, with mucus still working through my system. The first leg of the trip, to Dallas, took off late. The captain came on and said that we were THIRTY-FIFTH in line for take-off, which meant we’d be sitting on the tarmac for 30 minutes before taking off. Ugh.
I was sitting by the window. I just wanted to sleep, but the two women next to me struck up a conversation with each other. They seemed to get along well, and then they both agreed that Satan was real. I don’t know how their conversation turned to religion or Satan in the first place. I think they both might have been Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I’m not sure.
I wanted to hate them, but then I realized that I didn’t really know anything about them, other than that they thought Satan was real and that they’d probably think I was Satan’s spawn if they knew I was gay. So I closed my eyes and tried to sleep and ignore them. I told myself at least I wasn’t sitting near a screaming baby. When the plane finally took off, they stopped talking to each other. Whew. Eventually I put my coat over my head and leaned my head against the wall next to my seat and once again tried to sleep, but couldn’t. And my stomach wasn’t feeling well.
Because the plane took off 30 minutes late, it landed 20 minutes late. By the time I got off the plane, it was 2:15, and my connecting flight was at 2:30, and it was in the next concourse. So I rushed with my bag, down the concourse, up an escalator, waited impatiently for a monorail, and finally managed to make it onto my plane at 2:25 or 2:26. I had to check my bag, but I was on the plane! Out of breath, tired, but on the plane! Win!
And then the plane sat there on the tarmac in Dallas.
After a few minutes, the captain came on and said there were severe thunderstorms in Houston and they weren’t letting any planes fly into the Houston airport. He didn’t know when he would have any more information, but he would let us know.
I was sitting by the window again, with two people next to me, on a full flight.
And then I started to feel claustrophobic.
I was also hungry, and exhausted, and sitting on a plane with no idea when it would move. I felt completely terrible. All I wanted, dear God, was to get out of this confined space and get to my hotel room in Houston. I felt myself on the verge of a mini-panic attack and tried to stave it off. I wound up calling Matt, and he talked with me for a few minutes, and I managed to calm myself down a bit.
At 3:35 — five minutes after my flight was originally scheduled to land in Houston — the captain came back on and said that if he didn’t hear anything in 15 minutes, he would let anyone off the plane that wanted to get off. I felt a rush of hope and relief.
A few minutes later, he came back on and said we were cleared to take off! Hooray!
We taxied down the runway. The flight attendant came on and said it would be a 44-minute flight. Excellent. At 4:02, we finally took off, and I looked forward to landing at around 4:45 or 4:50.
But no, that had apparently been old information. We had to take the long way around the thunderstorms. The pilot said we would be landing at 5:33. FUCK. The flight would be twice as long as scheduled. I just wanted. Off. This. Fucking. Plane.
I closed my eyes, listened to some music, tried to relax.
At 5:08 the pilot came on and said, “Good news, it looks like we’ll be landing a little early. We should have you on the ground in 18 minutes.”
Okay, good. Instead of 5:33 we’d land at 5:26. Really, seven fewer minutes should not have been a big deal, but when all you want to do is get off an airplane, every minute counts.
I basically started clock-watching (or, watch-watching). I couldn’t stop checking the time. We began descending into some enormous dark clouds. And we just kept being surrounded by clouds. I was like, are we descending, or not? How big are these fucking clouds? Why aren’t we landing?
We finally landed at like 5:35 or 5:36. Not 5:26. Not even 5:33. I know it might sound silly that I was so annoyed by a few extra minutes, but I was. Again, I JUST WANTED TO GET OFF THE FUCKING AIRPLANE. I was so pissed off at the pilot. Why tell us we’re going to land early when we’re not? Why didn’t you just keep that false good news to yourself?
Then we taxied. Then we stopped before we even got to the gate. ARGH. My knee was bobbing up and down and I was drumming my fingers on the seat and the guy next to me must have thought I was a lunatic.
Then we started moving again and we FINALLY got to the gate. I finally got off the fucking airplane. And then I had to go to baggage claim and wait for my bag, and wait, and wait, as about 10 irregularly-shaped and unusually heavy packages came down the ramp, each about 30 seconds apart, as the rest of us stood there and thought, what the hell? What are these things and who packed them and where’s our freaking luggage?
But my bag came and I got into a comfortable taxi and there wasn’t much traffic. At about 7:10 pm, I was finally in my hotel room, about two and a half hours later than I’d planned.
I got room service, watched TV, then tried to read but decided to just go to bed. Exhausted.
Oh, blog, thank you for your white space that allows me to pour out my anger and annoyance! Glad you’re still here.