I know that it’s not the best way to garner sympathy by complaining about gifts, especially something as awesome as a free trip to the Bahamas, but here goes. My husband’s job gave us this as a perk for meeting his goals for the year so of course we were ecstatic. But when you entrust your travel arrangements to a third party, you at the mercy of their decisions. Considering that we are hardly the only people going on this trip, we are reminded of our importance once the arrangements are announced.
Our flight has a connection in Charlotte and departs at 8:00 am, so we have to be at the airport an hour away by 6:00 am. We opted to stay at a hotel near the airport, which by all accounts, was lovely. The weather soon turned on us. What sunshine and warm breezes promised earlier in the week turned to hail and whipping wind around midnight. The morning air was frigid and turbulent as we drug ourselves awake at 5:00 am.
Sharing a bed with a toddler is a a gamble as far as actual sleep is concerned. But even if he sleeps, it’s not without thrashing about in the night. At one point I woke to find him upside down, his head resting on my leg, finally still. It was still 3:45 am and I distinctly recall thinking, “okay, I can work with this.”
It was actually snowing when we arrived at the airport. The idea that our tropical vacation might be delayed by an April snowstorm seemed all too real. Luckily our flight was showing on time.
The line for security was longer than I’ve ever seen since 2001, and there were plenty of people trying to cut the line, none successful in their half hearted efforts. It only took us 20 minutes though, which I think they cut down since we were traveling with a child.
I met my husband’s new boss as we waited for our flight and kicked myself for not bothering to put on even a little mascara to make myself look less like death. As we boarded, the flight attendants let my son greet the pilots in the cockpit, an unexpected but very enjoyable treat for him. The airline staff could not have been nicer to us.
Their kindness could do nothing to change the persisting high winds, which limited the number of available runways down to one, putting us out another 20 minutes later for departure. The likelihood of making our connection in Charlotte dwindled even further. It was hard to think of anything but this as we toddled down the runway to await our turn to take off.
Travel worry is one of the most fruitless of human endeavors. Because it is most often done for leisure, the concern that our carefully laid plans might go awry feels like cosmic justice employed at the hands of strangers. When they do, there’s practically nothing that can be done on your part except go through the dance of waiting, rushing, rolling the dice, and seeing what the fates have in store for you.
Traveling is a trust in this process. It is putting yourself and your money into a hypothetical situation and hoping that the universe holds up its end of the bargain. If it works out and you get where you’re supposed to be without any problems, you never hear another word about it. But ask anyone about their travel nightmares and everyone has their story.
I have no idea what the universe has in store for me. I’m hoping that in spite of our delays, we make it to our final destination on time with all our stuff. But at this moment, it’s unknowable. I’m probably overdue for some karmic thumb in the eyeball. But perhaps that will wait for another day.