I left work yesterday just in time to make it to the airport for my 7:30 p.m. flight. Obtaining my boarding pass and making it through security was a breeze, despite a nagging thought in the back of my head that I'd forgotten something. But that nagging thought has been with me for the past three weeks so I don't really pay attention to it anymore.
When I went to my gate, I saw a big fat "DELAYED" sign over our departure time. I stood in line at the counter behind two very angry passengers who were pissed off that the airline hadn't called them to inform them of the delay. The man at the counter was calling in reinforcements when he saw me standing there.
"I'm going to help this lady," he told the two gentlemen in front of me. He motioned me to come up to the counter.
One of the guys was still mouthing off to him so the guy said, "Well, I'm sorry that we don't have extra planes."
I walked up to the counter and said, "I have an extra plane." It made him smile and that's what I was after. I mean, seriously, people, such is life when you're traveling. Lighten up.
He told me our plane was stuck in Baltimore and that it'd be like 8:45 by the time it landed in Nashville and about 9:10 when we took off. It was, at that time, 6:40.
I went and sat at the kiddie table, which was behind the airline counter. I had my newspaper and started reading.
But, on the other side of the partition, I could hear lots of yelling and Calm People trying to talk to Angry People. This was gonna get good.
I spotted a row of empty chairs that faced the customer airline counter and I made a beeline for them. I wasn't the only one. I sat with a group of five people who chose those seats for the same reason I had. Who knew I wasn't the only nosy one around?
So we spent the next 45 minutes or so laughing at the people who were so angry, talking about our travels, the weather, football, eavesdropping on the conversations taking place at the counter, until their flight was ready to take off. We said goodbye, like friends at airports do. They went on with their lives. I picked up my purse and went on with mine.
I decided I needed coffee. So I found a Starbucks and ordered my caramel machiato. On my way back to my gate, I saw the Louisville football game was playing at the bar at O'Charleys. My best friend was at that game so I decided to stop in and watch. You know, show my Kentucky pride. :)
The bartender told me it was a one-drink minimum to sit at the bar. Okay. That wouldn't be a problem.
"If you don't drink it, we will," said the middle-aged woman sitting two chairs to my left. We laughed.
There were four of us at the bar. Tyler, a soldier who just got back from Iraq and was heading home to see his parents for the first time since February. Jenn, an HR director for a company in Kansas City was headed to Austin to visit her brother. Logan, a 21-year-old who took full advantage of his drinking prowess as a 21-year-old, was headed home to Austin. And me.
We were all just trying to get there and we were all severely waylaid. And we all decided to make the most out of it.
And we did.
I actually left my purse, my phone, my coffee, and my drink with these people while I went to the bathroom. Tyler did the same. And then Jenn.
We talked about family, work, our futures, our hobbies. Jenn, being the oldest one, gave us advice. Tyler and I talked about our familie's ranches. Logan was drunk and funny.
We whittled down our waiting time till it was time to board and the bar was closing up. Jenn saved a seat for me on the plane. We sat together, had a couple drinks and made friends with the people around us. Dave, a sales guy from Austin, gave me his number and told me to text him. He reminded me again when we were getting our luggage.
Jenn grabbed her suitcase and disappeared with her husband. I walked away with her phone number and e-mail address and her encouragement that she may know a couple people who might be interested in giving me some freelance/contract work.
I'm not sure where Logan was. I think he passed out on the plane.
And Tyler's with his family on the ranch for the next four days.