The Travel Gods Are Laughing

Remember that horrible/awesome movie from the ’80’s, Clash of the Titans? Where the gods had little clay figurines of key characters and moved them at will? That’s how I felt today.

This weekend I was invited to Raleigh for my college roommate’s son’s bar mitzvah. Since Raleigh is so close to Greensboro, I decided to come a couple of days early and visit with high school friends, as well as cowork with colleagues. It made the most sense (both time wise and economically) to fly into Greensboro and fly out of Raleigh. I would just rent a car to drive from Greensboro to Raleigh. I booked my ticket.

Unbeknownst to me, it is ridiculously expensive to rent a car at one location and return it to another. The rental car to get from Greensboro to Raleigh was going to be almost as much as my plane ticket. Hmmmm. What other options were there? I decided to rent a car at the Greensboro airport, return it in Greensboro, and take Amtrak from Greensboro to Raleigh. Plan in place.

My flight was at 7:35 am this morning and I accidentally overslept, waking at 7:18 am. I noticed I had an email notification that my flight was delayed until 8:29 am. I could make it!

I hailed a cab. He drove me there as I practiced meditative breathing. Calm. In. Out. I arrived to SFO and a kind TSA agent led me to the front of the security line. Ah, this was good. Very good. Things were going my way.

The flight was delayed beyond 8:29 am. I began to worry that I would miss my connection, but then decided there was nothing I could do about it, so if I missed it, I would have a couple of hours to do work in Houston, or get my nails done. It would be a nice break in the day.

We landed in Houston as my connection for Greensboro took off. As I disembarked, the gate agent handed me a stack of boarding passes. From Houston, to Atlanta, to Washington Dulles, to Greensboro, arriving in the wee hours of the morning. “Excuse me, I think there might be a mistake. Is there any way to fly to Greensboro directly?” “You’ll have to go to customer service, ma’am.”

So I went. The agent could best be described as a sour puss. She didn’t look at me, and didn’t seem particularly interested in customer service. When I explained my dilemma, she said, “Yeah, planes don’t really head to the east coast after 3 pm.” WTF? I find that hard to believe.

I tried again. “Are there any direct flights to Greensboro?” “Not until tomorrow,” she answered, still never looking at me. “Is there any way you can get me there sooner?” And at that moment, silent tears slowly creeped from the corners of my eyes down my cheeks. I didn’t want to cry. I was tired, and just wanted to be at my destination. I knew it wasn’t her fault, and I wasn’t mad at her, I was just, well, frustrated. I wanted to be at my destination, having dinner with my friends.

She never looked up, but maybe she sensed my despair. She typed several queries. “I can get you to Raleigh/Durham by 7.” Oh, the irony. “That would be lovely, thank you.”

I looked up to the skies, expecting to see the travel gods mocking me.

Not seeing them, I rushed to the gate, making last call for the flight to Raleigh.

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