So there I was…trying to get back from Florida and some much-needed dad and puppy time with a storm heading for DC on Wednesday morning. A friend is going to help me with some job hunting on Friday so I needed to get back by Thursday night and a significant snowfall will snarl air travel for days. No problem-I will be smart and head out on Tuesday afternoon while there are plenty of flights available getting me into DC well before the first flake falls.
Being the lucky chiquita that I am, I get onto the flight to Atlanta. Barely, but that’s plenty enough! Land in Atlanta and make a beeline for my second leg into Reagan National in DC (DCA) located a mere one concourse away. It will be my victory slide into home base. Take that, Snowstorm Saturn/Snowquestration!
Then I don’t get on the flight. So I quickly head for the next flight to DCA. Not only do I not get on, they started pulling people off of the plane who had already made it on. Uh oh.
Well, no biggie since there are two more flights to DCA tonight. I will just grab one of those. Except that now they are both cancelled. So is the next (and all flights) to Dulles (the other DC airport). Even the flight into sweet little Charlottesville is cancelled.
Picture spending the next few days with no luggage while a resident of the lovely Atlanta airport (which is a really great airport) and you can start to picture how my adrenaline is rising. Love ATL, but I prefer figurative to literal layovers, thanks. After actually spending an entire night in Atlanta airport, I can attest to how much I’d rather just get home or away instead of remaining there. That, and there are only so many times I can resist this place:
Especially when it’s becoming a hostile little village. People are getting angry. Starting to form bitterness-bound tribes. Yelling and pointing and clearly dreading an ATL campout for the next 24 hours and longer. We’re all looking slack jawed at the monitors with the collective realization that the storm is tomorrow’s problem, but the cancellations are making it a huge problem starting tonight. In fact, starting right this second. It’s not like CNN hadn’t been warning us, yet we were all still shocked.
<que sinking feeling>
As a side note, I understand why the airlines are doing preemptive cancels and it makes total sense. Honestly. The news was talking about two feet of snow causing snowed in planes, crews without enough legal hours to fly and more. Confronting the impacts of that logical decison bearing down on your own head like a foot of icy snow, though, is chilling. (Ba dum bum)
Finally! An idea! Baltimore! The far reaches of my dread-soaked mind recall that folks fly in and out of there from DC all.of.the.time! Is there a flight tonight that isn’t canceled? YES!
Surely, I am not the first person to realize this as fear looses a bit of its king fu grip on my brain in the face of hope, no matter how faint. I bolt towards the gate, though, with so many of the crowd hot on my heels-and zero idea what I will do when I arrive since my car is parked near DCA and Baltimore is about an hour away from there.
Unbelievably, I GOT ON! And got to stay on! After being locked out of six flights in less than an hour! YESES!
I started calling a few people if they could possibly pick me up. Then I remember… there are shuttle services! Yay! Then, on my flight, a guy tells me that you can also just grab an Amtrak into DC. Double yay! I LOVE TRAIN RIDES!
On the flight, I learned that the prior flight from Atlanta to Baltimore was also cancelled, making my seat assignment into BWI all the more incredible! Woo hoo!
During my flight, I got advice on selecting a new laptop AND information on some grants for which my planned exercise app might qualify. More yay!
So my pre-storm adventure is just beginning here in DC. We landed at 9, then I found the train station and now I am riding the rails (one of “those people (who) keep a-movin’…”) with the modern convenience of a power outlet to charge my phone on the move. Next, I am going to catch a Metro to DCA to get my suitcase-which only needed cargo space, not a seatbelt, so it should be there waiting. Finally, then a shuttle to my car.
Then I am going out to take some beautiful photos. DC dressed in white is a site to behold- the night before when everyone is preparing for it? Should be very cool! The night before Sandy had such a special feeling-so much energy and expectation wrapped in near silence on the streets. An adventure!
All that I might do tomorrow will be tomorrow’s decision but, for tonight, it feels like I caught the last chopper out of Saigon and I am excited to see what’s next.
Given the week and weekend that I had, any happy is great- and excited is an unexpected visitor. Hope she sticks around!
Thanks for all of the support this week- my family and friends are a huge part of what makes me so lucky. being God’s favorite also helps a lot! Whenever I forget these important things, I am quickly (if harshly) reminded… happily, with many people who graciously and quickly help me back up. How lucky am I? The job stuff is going to work out (I’m sure of it) and someone said that I could live with her and her family for a time while I figure out the rest. Seriously? Blessed am I. This will all work out for the best.
Any fellow adventurers for tonight? It’s calm and peaceful and warm-for-early- March here with that same collective question mark as pre-Sandy.We’re pulling into Union Station now…