Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Winds of Change

Some days start with a bang and you just know they're going to be memorable. As I left the house this morning, my first impression of the day was that of calm, clear sunshine. I locked the door behind me and inhaled the sweet scent of an early spring. I smiled, dreaming of the near-future when most days would be like this - birds singing songs of renewed life and the sun bathing them with warmth from above.

When I turned the corner, though, I was met with a wind so fierce, so powerful, that it knocked me backward and elicited a well-deserved "oh damn!" It would be a sign of things to come - an omen from the fates.

Work was normal - a gentle flurry of emails and meetings, paper drifting in and out of my day like leaves in a breeze. I had a fantastic and delicious lunch with coworkers at the Desert Edge Grill and Brewery, and after lunch things looked to resume to normal. It would not be so, though. The fates had already warned me, but I was unaware. I sauntered into the bathroom for my daily ritual of post lunch rest and relaxation. No sooner did I seat myself at my throne of peace than did the lights flicker and die. Darkness enveloped me. The kind of darkness that momentarily takes your breath away and elicits an "Oh damn!" I pulled out my phone and opened it up, allowing the meager, cold light to dimly fill the mustard walls of my cell. My initial despair, however, was dissolved by the realization that the dull, dronish hum of the fan had ceased, leaving me in a beautiful, zen-like silence. Moments later, the generators kicked in and I was bathed in the comforting glow of emergency lighting.

When the power failed to return a few hours later, we were invited to leave work early. I, being scheduled to leave for San Fransisco only a few hours after work, was enthralled at the prospect of having a few more hours to pack and ready myself for my travels. All went smoothly getting to the airport and my great friend, Corianne, and I found ourselves in the terminal a good hour before our flight was scheduled to leave. While we waited, we discussed topics that only travelers touch upon: proper airplane attire, packing protocol, and carryon-centric travel strategies. Mid-discussion, I glanced up at the line of windows framing the pre-boarding area and, to my utter horror, saw a blizzard blowing so furiously that there was no vertical descent to the snowfall. It was flying perfectly horizontal! Perfectly damn horizontal! I was mortified!

It wasn't 30 minutes later that a sweet voice filled the cathedral of travel in which we now sat. "Ladies and gentlemen, from the sound of my voice you would assume that my news would be wonderful and angelic, but this is not so. I am the harbinger of doom, and I'd like to inform you that if you have a connecting flight" (we did) "you're basically screwed. Do you SEE that storm!? It's mocking you, travelers! Your vacation plans are doomed to freeze like the very ice you see building on the windows! Haha! Hahahahaha!"

Her maniacal laughter faded into the walls like the demented music of a haunted organ. We were left to sit, meditating on our unfortunate fate - the outcome of our precarious journey long from known. With no hope of making our connecting flight in Vegas, we transferred to a direct flight to Oakland. Southwest was kind enough to do this free of charge.

Right now we're waiting to board that flight. Part two of this journey will come shortly... I hope.


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