This morning I woke up at 7 AM PST, handled an e-mail emergency, packed my bags and headed toward the airport, planning to grab breakfast at IHOP before turning in the rental car and catching my noon flight home. As I was about to dive into my pancakes, my phone rang and an automated voice informed that my flight had been canceled. This is not good news to receive over pancakes, but at least I still had the rental car. After finding a Starbucks for the free WiFi, Nic and I put together a couple contingency plans. The mid-West U.S. is getting dumped on with snow, so flights connecting through Minneapolis (like mine) were canceled. I was assigned a midnight flight via Detroit.
Having checked out of my hotel, with plans to get to the airport early and do some more e-mail, I suddenly found myself with 13 hours to kill in Seattle… alone, with nothing to my name but my bags and a (rather nice) rental car. Fortunately, even without the comforts of a hotel, I managed to spend a pretty nice day, thanks to my employers’ sprawling campups:
– In my team’s building, I found a conference room with a TV. I borrowed a co-worker’s space heater to warm the room up, procured a vending machine lunch, and hooked up my laptop to the TV so I could catch up on some TV via Hulu.
– I caught a matinee – Unstoppable, with Denzel Washington, which was very good – and then went to a bookstore/Starbucks in the mall and read for an hour.
– Back to campus to another building that I’d recently learned had showers (and towels!) where I had a short nap on a couch I found, took a shower and did my stretches while watching a little more TV in another conference room.
I had intended to eat dinner at one of the airport’s nicer restaurants, but they were all closed, so I had a hot dog and after another few hours of waiting, shuffled onto an over-crowded plane full of other grumpy, re-directed passengers. I was number 3 on the upgrade list, but didn’t make the cut and instead ended up squeezed between a giant body-builder type, and a drunk business man (although I didn’t fault him for it – he slept the whole flight and I was jealous.)
We made it to Detroit where I have a 3 hour lay-over before flying into Toronto – where the storm is expected to catch up with me. I have a hotel near the airport as its not likely it’ll be safe for Nicole to come pick me up. I splurged and bought a day pass to the Delta SkyLounge here in Detroit. My status affords me a discount, and I figured I deserved a comfortable chair to sit in.
Considering everything, its been an OK day. The hardest part is that I haven’t had a conversation with another human being for about 36 hours now, which even as an introvert is hard to handle. I’m hoping to be home by tomorrow at the latest, assuming the storm lets up. And then I fly out again Wednesday.
Its of some interest to me that the concept of “home” as a fixed geographical location is losing all meaning. I’m pretty sure I could be content floating around the continent (or better yet, the globe) – if I could just have my family with me.