On my way home from Miami

I’ve had the opportunity to do some traveling last year for events and have begun to think that perhaps I am a bit sadistic. I love it!  It did not take long to realize that flights are never on time, you’re connecting flights are ALWAYS on the other side of the concourse, and airport food sucks. I’ve had layovers, missed flights, delayed connections, screaming babies, turbulence that made me cry, six-hour flights with no service due to weather, and through it all for some reason I really love traveling!

By far the funniest situation had to be on my way home from Miami. The only flight that fit my schedule left Miami and had a 20 minute connecting in Chicago. We touched down in Chicago on a bright and sunny afternoon and were soon “delayed” on the runway due to weather. Apparently there was a storm from somewhere and other planes were being rerouted which meant we had to wait. No biggie.

When we were finally let off the plane I had five minutes until my plane to Seattle was supposed to depart. Luckily I made it and was the last passenger to board the plane. I had not texted my husband to tell him what flight I was on or where I was connecting because of course,  my phone had died. Given my small window of opportunity between flights I had not had the opportunity to do it when we landed in Chicago either. I had a quick thought, booted up my lap top, plugged my phone into the laptop for power and shot off a quick message before we took off. All it said was “leaving Chicago, home in 5 hours, phone dead”.

I got myself settled next to this young man from the Middle East.  He was super sweet, only 16, and heading to Seattle to study English.  We were sitting there chatting when the stewardess came over head and said in the most serene, calm voice “Ladies and Gentleman, we need to de-plane “ [Insert obnoxious groaning from all the passengers here] “there’s a tornado approaching, exit the aircraft immediately and take shelter”.

Hmmm…. did I hear that right?  (Insert announcement again.) Yep, I heard her right! You definitely do not have to tell me twice.  I grabbed my purse but left everything else and got in line to de-plane.  You would be amazed at how much delay was possible getting off the plane in an emergency! People were stopping to grab their carry one bags. We would move two feet and some yahoo would stop to grab their belongings. The other passengers would shout at them to move and hurry, and to leave their bags. The stewardess would make another announcement stating that this was an EMERGENCY, that there WAS a tornado and that we needed to deplane and take shelter immediately.  Yet over and over someone would stop.  Now, I am a calm, rational person…especially in the midst of crisis…. but come on people!

We were finally moving and some guy three people ahead of me stopped to grab his bag yet again. Now, I’m not proud of my actions but at the same time let’s be real folks! I decided to pipe up, told him to move his ASS pronto-tanto!  Leave your crap and get your ass off the plane so the rest of us can take shelter! There was some cheering, and the passenger became flustered and just left his bag. Really??   That said we deplaned and looked for shelter. I ended up hiding out in the woman’s bathroom for two hours until we got the all clear.

I left shelter for a brief moment and used an outlet to text my husband, mind you this is about an hour after I was supposed to have left Chicago! I fired off a quick text that said “In Chicago, deplaned, tornado. Hunkered down in bathroom. Don’t worry, I’m a smart cokie”.  Whoops….. next text… “Cookie…I am not a cokie”.  Needless to say he was a bit concerned when I was able to finally plug-in and call him several hours later. I ended up getting home five hours after my scheduled time with an adventurous story to put in my memory bank.  Maybe one day if there’s time I can fill you in on the rest of the happenings like the rude guy at McDonald’s, my Bathroom friends, and the cute middle eastern kid I sat next to who was (as he put it ) “how you say, freaking out!”.

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