Multiple people have told me to “just journal” not write, but I’m a writer, not a journal writer. This entry is my plane ride to Dulles International where I headed to western Virginia for some pre-deployment training. It was a rough trip.
On 2 June, the plane from Mobile left late, not very late, about 20 minutes. Enough to make me fear missing my plane in Atlanta. My gates are always at the end and never connect on the same gate. Today was no exception. I rushed from plane to plane.
Running on the people mover has to be one of my most used metaphors. That bit at the end when you have to catch yourself because your body is now moving much faster than your feet. Well, it isn’t just my favorite metaphor; it’s a way of life, especially travel life.
So I get to my next plane, and I’m Zone 1, normally I’m in the last zone to board, but now I’m first. So I get on the plane with time to spare and wait for it to fill up. Finally the doors closed but the pilot says, we’re delayed, plus there’s a long line of planes ahead of us. After thirty minutes he tells us it will be another thirty minutes. Is it better to break the time up into small chunks like that? Did he know it would be an hour all along? Things I may never know.
Anyway, we get to moving and he tells us we’re skipping a few places in the line, good news, finally. While we’re traveling along at a snail’s pace, I watched outside the window. I began to think about how odd it is that we are voluntarily in a hollow tube that has been sealed. It would be nice to open the window and smell the hot, humid rain falling in the Atlanta heat.
As we near the end of the runway someone a few rows in front of me begins to yell. The yell was muffled, subdued, quiet as he yelled, “Shelby, help! Somebody, help!” Without knowing what was wrong, your heart starts pumping, adrenaline is flowing, and you scan looking for something, anything that could be wrong. Being unable to see anything ahead of me I look back out the window. The plane is rolling forward, is someone about to get run over? Are we drifting aimlessly and about to roll off an embankment? About this time someone indicates there is a person undergoing seizures.
They move her into the aisle and a lady from the back of the plane walks up. Apparently she is some type of nurse or doctor but it makes me think, what if she doesn’t know anything about seizures? Followed closely by wondering what healthcare professionals think of when they aren’t working but someone needs medical attention. As an engineer I don’t have to worry about that too often.
So, we roll back to the gate and unload her. She walked off under her own power, which is a good sign, but now we have to file another flight plan, find a new gate to land at, etc. Finally we get that taken care of and get back into the long line of taxiing planes we were at the front of and the pilot tells us that due to weather in Dulles that no planes are being allowed to land so we’re back to being on hold. After about another half hour we’re moving again, but still behind a large number of planes.
Finally, 2 hours after we were supposed to have landed, we take off. When we arrived and the pilot announced it the plane clapped.