Delays

I traveled home to Minnesota this week for the privilege of standing next to my brother as he tied the knot.  It’s a good thing we had some things to look forward to this week, because we faced a terrible traveling situation flying out.

We showed up for a 5 pm flight out of Portland, Maine, on time around 3 pm.  After checking in at a kiosk with the help of a nice security/baggage guy, we had our boarding passes and headed for security, feeling like we were on our way.

After passing quickly through the check point, we were headed for our gate when we heard our names on the PA system, calling us to a different gate for a message.  The friendly airline employee asked if anyone had explained our flight delay to us.  My wife and I looked at each other and knew we were in trouble.

We answered, “No, no one explained anything to us,” and the employee told us that she wanted to get us on a flight boarding for Philadelphia instead of taking our regular flight to LaGuardia in New York.  That LGA flight was already delayed until after 8 pm, and it was clear we would already miss our connecting flight to Minnesota.  After working her airline magic, she did manage to put us on that flight to Philly, with a different connecting flight to Minnesota.  So we walked straight onto a plane, and prepared for our layover in Philadelphia.

Did I mention that we were facing a three hour delay?  Of course, when you do the math, we weren’t really going to be doing that badly.  We would have waited 2 hours for our original flight anyway.  Psychologically, we actually felt ahead of schedule.

Then we landed in Philadelphia.

It was a little rainy, but everything seemed fine upon arrival.  We jumped on a shuttle bus to a different terminal without any problem.  But as we started watching the Departure displays as we walked down the terminal towards our gate, we noticed that something wasn’t right.  Our boarding passes gave us a flight time of 8 pm, but the airline screen said 9:20 pm.  Over the next half hour, that departure moved all the way to 10:55.

Oh yeah, I forgot something.  Somehow I had it stuck in my head that our first flight was at 3:10, so we had dragged the kids out of bed at 6 am and driven all the way to Portland in time to be there at 1:00.  Now here we were, all of us tired and wondering what on earth was going wrong, eating a limited selection of airline terminal food, and nerves wearing down to the edges.  We were stuck, delayed by forces uncontrollable, and frustrated and tired and wishing it was either over, or had never started.

It was there in the Philadelphia terminal that I started thinking about my blog and where to go with it.  Suddenly I started getting some ideas in my head, and I thought I’d start getting them out here.

The first idea was obvious: Delays.  Have you ever faced a life delay?  We know what it’s like to be in traffic jams, packed airport terminals, and long Walmart checkout lines.  We’ve been in places of frustration waiting for our fries, or the person ahead of us at the toll booth, and for our kids to stop asking “are we there yet?”  But have ever stopped and thought about what the delays we face in life – beyond the lines and the weather delays and the 13-car accidents – do to us as individuals, and what they prepare us for?

In the meantime, do you have a delay story you’d like to share?  One thing I’ve learned is that everyone has a story to tell that will help somebody else.  Please add your delay story here as a comment.

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