Remember how I was going to Detroit for the Ford Driving Green Technology Event? Remember that? Remember how I tweeted yesterday – from the Colorado Springs airport – about how I was waiting for the plane? Remember how I got my hair chopped off JUST for the occasion? Remember how I posted about the Blazer of Shame just to show how excited I was?
Would you like to hear about my trip? The one I took yesterday? You would, wouldn’t you?
I believe a timeline will best illustrate the journey.
My Trip to Detroit Denver
2:45 a.m.: Wake up shaking, because Fiance got up to go to the bathroom and I thought it was late in the morning and I’d missed the alarm. Jump out of bed and run to the closet. Fiance returns, grumbles, “You’re insane” and gets back in bed. Lay back down and watch the clock until …
5:15-5:45 a.m.: Shower. Finish packing. Tell Fiance how excited I am. Jump up and down 50 times. Tell Fiance how excited I am. Wait for Fiance to bring the warmed-up car around, so I can tell him how excited I am.
6:30 a.m.: Arrive at the airport. Tell the TSA agent how excited I am. TSA agent: “Okay, ma’am. Please take off your shoes.”
7:30 a.m.: Wonder why we’re not boarding the plane yet, but think little about it because I’m busy Tweeting about how excited I am. Put the laptop away and drum on the bag until the man sitting next to me clears his throat and asks me if I’m okay. “Yes,” I say, “I’m just excited.”
7:40 a.m.: Phone rings. It’s Fiance. “Don’t get worried,” he says, “but I have some bad news.” Think about how I should hang up without knowing it. Listen anyway. “The Blazer stalled on the freeway, and I can’t get it started. I had to call a …”
7:41 a.m.: The gate agent picks up the PA thingy and starts to talk. I interrupt Fiance and tell him to hush. The announcer says: “Ladies and gentleman, our first officer just called in sick, and we have a call out to bring in another one. Unfortunately, it’s going to be at least 2 hours before we can get you to Denver. Please line up at the customer service desk if you have a connecting flight.”
7:41:30 a.m.: “tow truck,” Fiance says, “I had to call a tow truck.” Tell Fiance how sorry I am and then hang up without digesting the information. Run to the customer service line, because my connecting flight will leave Denver in 2 hours and 30 minutes. Freak out.
8:30 a.m.: Reach the front of the customer service line, just as she announces that they have a first officer, and we’ll take off soon. Talk to her anyway. She says, “You’ll probably be okay, but if you miss the plane to Detroit, there is nothing else until tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. All flights to Detroit are completely full, with long standby lines. So just hope you make the plane.” Tell her thank you. Hope my heart stops pounding. Remember the words “tow truck.” Commence hyperventilation.
8:35 a.m.: Call the nice man arranging the travel for the bloggers going to the Ford Green event. Tell him the issue. Hope he knows magic travel tricks. He does not. “I don’t see any way you’ll make it to Detroit if you miss your connecting.” Wonder how he understood anything I said through the rapid shallow breathing.
8:45 a.m.: Rush up to another gate agent who parks herself at our gate. Ask her, “What are my chances of making my connecting flight? Should I even bother?” “Yes,” she says. “You’ll make it. No problem. You might have to run, but you’ll be fine.”
8:50 a.m.: Begin boarding the plane with two carry-ons in tow. Think about the word “tow.” Freak out. Get stopped by the flight attendant who tells me I have to check my bag under the plane – it’s too big to fit on the overhead compartments. Look at the overhead compartments. They are the size of toasters. “But,” I say to the flight attendant “I have a connecting flight to catch that’s leaving right when we get to Denver.” She asks me the time my flight leaves. “10:10,” I say.
“You’ll be fine,” she assures me. “We’ll be there FAR before your plane leaves.”
9:20 a.m.: Still on the runway in Colorado Springs. The pilot tells us we can’t take off due to the weather in Denver. “Don’t worry,” says the flight attendant. “Everything in Denver is backed up because of the weather. Everyone making a connecting flight in the next hour should be fine.” Breathe deeply. Remember that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Be glad I’m not like the man in front of me, who’s about to miss his connecting flight to Saskatoon.
10:07 a.m.: Land in Denver. Snow everywhere. It looks like a snowpocalypse. Turn on the phone and see I have 3 minutes to make my connecting flight. Remember that it’s probably late, anyway. I’m okay.
10:15 a.m.: After waiting 8 minutes for a gate to open up, we walk off the plane. Wait 5 excruciating minutes for the bags to come off. Fall down after grabbing my bag and running into the guy waiting behind me. Have a hard time standing up on the ice. Slide into the door. Hear the man behind me yell, “Good luck!” Think about the kindness of humanity. All is right with the world.
10:20 a.m.: Sprint through a sea of weary travelers yelling, “Excuse me. Pardon me. I’m going to Detroit!” Wonder why I’m not falling down. I always fall down. Wonder how I’m running through an entire concourse without losing my breath. Reach the gate. It’s empty. Start breathing. Hard.
10:22 a.m.: “Detroit? The plane to Detroit? Is it gone. IS IT GONE?”
“Yes,” the gate agent says. “I’m going to have to ask you to go back to gate 58 where there’s a customer service desk.”
“DETROIT? THE PLANE? IT’S GONE?”
“Ma’am. Please get off the floor. The customer service desk at gate 58 will help you.”
10:28 a.m.: In the bathroom. Sobbing silently in a stall. Sobbing. But at least it’s silently. No one will know. Maybe there’s still hope? Maybe Ford Travel Arranger can help me yet? Maybe!
10:30 a.m.: Exit the stall and realize I wasn’t sobbing silently after all. Five women are surrounding the door, staring inquisitively as I walk out. Try not to look at my red face and swollen eyes as I wash my hands. Cry a little more.
10:35 a.m.: Reach the customer service desk. Stand in line. Get tapped on the back by a man behind me. “I’m sorry, but if you’re waiting for customer service, the line actually starts back there.” Gaze back. See 50 more people behind me. Cry. Give up. Call Ford Travel Arranger.
10:37 a.m.: “I’m sorry. I feel so horrible about this, but I don’t think you can do anything. You should probably just see if you can get a plane back home.” Ford Travel Arranger doesn’t know. I can still do this. I can wait in this line. I CAN GET TO DETROIT. I CAN DO IT.
10:50 a.m.: Realize I have blisters on my right foot. Wonder why only my right foot. Take off my boot. Pull out a hair tie. Laugh, because all day I’d had a hair tie in my shoe. Blame the cats.
11:45 a.m.: Reach the front of the customer service line. The woman there looks at the screen for a very, very long time. She sighs. “I can get you into Detroit tomorrow at 3:00 p.m.” I feel the floor slipping out from under me. “That’s the best I can do. I’m so sorry.” I ask if I can please go back home. “Yes, but you’ll be on standby for the rest of the day. All flights back to Colorado Springs are booked. The flight you might be able to catch leaves at 12:30. You should hurry to the gate.”
12:00 p.m.: Realize I’m at the end of the concourse, where my gate should be. My gate is 95. I am at gate 10. I have gone all the way down the wrong side of the concourse. Run all the way back down the concourse, aware of how hard I’m breathing this time. Start thinking about how I’m not going to Detroit. Cry and run. I am not a pretty picture.
12:20 p.m.: Talk to the gate agent. Tell her how irritated I am that all this happened because someone called in sick at the last minute this morning. “Oh,” she says, “you heard the wrong story.”
She tells me a bus full of flight crew slid off the road this morning, rolling over into a ravine, breaking the bones of many of the crew. That is, most likely, what happened to our “first” first officer.
“The airlines don’t like this kind of information getting out. That’s probably why you were told he was sick. They’d rather blame it on sickness than on roads that are too icy to drive on. They think people won’t fly if the roads are icy.”
She tells me other instances where airplane accidents aren’t reported by the news, because the airlines don’t want it getting out. Most of them involve icy runways.
She calls my name for standby. I wonder about icy runways.
I get on the plane anyway. What’s a little sliding off the runway after the day I’ve had?
12:30 p.m.: Feel bad for being mad about the first officer calling in sick. Wonder if he has broken bones. Send love his way.
2:00 p.m.: Still sitting on the runway in Denver, waiting to be de-iced. Realize I’ve spent nearly 5 hours in airplanes to a city that’s an hour away by car. Remember how I’m not going to Detroit. Cry. Feel sorry for myself. Think about how no one remembers the person who didn’t show up.
NO ONE REMEMBERS THE PERSON WHO DIDN’T SHOW UP.
Decide my blogging career is over.
Cry all the way back to the Springs.
2:50 p.m.: Walk out of the plane. Hate the airport, because the last time I was there, I was SO EXCITED.
2:51 p.m.: Start thinking about my next blog post. Realize it’s going to be this. Start thinking about the one after this, that’s going to be full of happiness and light.
2:53 p.m.: Realize Fiance can’t pick me up.
Even though I didn’t make it to the Ford Driving Green Technology Event, many lovely people did. I am not bitter. I am excited for them.
If you want to keep up with some of the festivities, here are some magnificent bloggers I met on Twitter who are attending the event.
I hope they had enough fun for ALL of us!
A Daily Pinch – Twitter handle @Daily_Pinch
Tech Savvy Mama – Twitter handle @techsavvymama
Let’s Be Green Together – Twitter handle @CathyIsReal
The Mommy Insider – Twitter handle @mommyinsider
Crunchyish Mama – Twitter handle @crunchyishmama
Scraps of My Geek Life – Twitter handle @scrappinmichele
Lastly, I just really want to thank Ford and the Clever Girls Collective for the opportunity. I’m so appreciative, even though I’m not there. May there be more opportunities in the future!