The day started pleasantly enough: coffee in the hotel lobby after check out, deli for lunch, a trip to Chelsea Piers and a long solo walk back to the hotel to collect my luggage. It was hot and sunny. It was New York in August.
Talk of thunder storms and flight diversions in the hotel lobby foreshadowed the disaster to come. Still, there was not a cloud in the sky and my flight was listed as “On Time.” I hopped into a cab with photography sage CL Buchanan and the Cocktail Deeva and we lurched our way toward LaGuardia. We dropped CL at terminal B and continued to terminal C where the perpetually smiling faces of WestJet clerks greeted us.
We cleared security in no time, the breast pump, Trojan vibrator (what? they were giving them away) and full-coverage, sausage-leg Spanx ménage à trois in my carry on notwithstanding. With nearly an hour to kill the Cocktail Deeva beelined it to the airport bar where we had a lighthearted discussion about the movie Contagion and how easily new mutations of pathogens can spread from surface to surface across the world in today’s air travel-giddy climate. “Don’t touch your face!” she warned. Then we rubbed lemon wedges all over our hands.
It was almost time to board, so we huddled around a rickety outlet charging our phones. I didn’t even hear the first announcement: “Flight 90xyz27 to Denver, Colorado is CANCELLED.” But then there was another one. And another. Flights were being cancelled left, right and centre. Would ours be next? I dug into the ratty old backpack that was my carry on and pulled out a bag of chips. Crap, they weren’t chips. They were some sort of bland, organic, vegetable snack (baby food, actually, I learned when I later pulled chips out of my suitcase in a baby food bowl). No worries, I tossed a bunch of swag snacks in there for the trip home. I tried again: yogurt-covered pineapple oat bites? yogurt dipped granola bar? stale sugarless cookies? The Cocktail Deeva was not impressed. She offered up half of her Snickers bar and I was glad to have it.
“WestJet flight 2113 to Toronto has been delayed. The new departure time will be 7:40.” Oh crap. At least it isn’t cancelled. We went to unplug our phones to head for the “pub style” airport bar and holy hell, burning! The chargers were so hot after 20 minutes in that outlet that it’s like a miracle of Fatima that the entire terminal isn’t being engulfed by flames all the time.
We snagged a window seat with a view of the tarmac — scenic! — and sought out the safest, most unscrew-up-able, menu items. No blue fin tuna or rib eye steak for us! We’re savvy enough to know better. And then our flight got delayed another hour and a half because WestJet never cancels flights, you see. They just keep on delaying them. And then our food came. That’s about when the desperation started setting in.
I had just suffered through four days of incredibly poor hotel wifi reception, missing messages all over the place, because I was too cheap to pay for US roaming charges. Now, one delayed flight, a basket of freezer burned chicken wings, some sorry-ass fries and a chip and dip appetizer that was actually literally potato chips and onion dip later and I was scrambling to turn my data on. Roaming charges be damned, this was a mother effing emergency and I needed my twitter.
Oh shit. That plane outside on the tarmac? The one sitting there for over two hours? Yeah, it was filled with people, many of whom I know and follow. At least we were stranded inside. At least the beer was cold. At least we weren’t hemmed in by a coupon blogger and some guy from Denver. Oh man, really? How does Denver boy even think he has a chance with a married coupon blogger with four kids? And no, I don’t know your friend Cathy who blogs about her children. Just like I don’t know Bob from Winnipeg. Blogging is the new Canada.
So, yeah, the plane got delayed again.
It probably had something to do with this.
New estimated boarding time: 9:45. What if it just keeps getting bumped back like this, hour after hour, I wondered? You see, THIS is why I packed an extra synthroid pill in my carry on. I wasn’t going to be the one to suffer the slight drop in thyroid function sometime next month. Nope, I wouldn’t be the one feeling imperceptibly slower and colder — even if I did still manage to feel fatter. Emergency preparedness is my middle name.
At long last, we did board our plane around 10pm. And then the scariest thing of all happened. The lovely WestJet crew (replete with an Adam Sandler look-alike attendant) offered us free alcohol and both the Cocktail Deeva and I ordered coffee instead.