Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Not-Worst Thing That Could Happen

I’m writing this from a terminal at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. It’s 8:44pm and I was supposed to have been in the air for 1 hour and 45 minutes by now. Upon checking in, I learned that the flight had been delayed by ½ hour. When boarding time came at 6:00, I learned that the flight had then been delayed further, with an ETD at 9:00pm.

For the past few hours, I and a bunch of other hapless travelers have been seated in the terminal, hanging on the occasional updates from the less-than-sympathetic airline personnel. How could they care? They see this stuff everyday.

The reason for the delay is that my flight does not have any captain or other pilot-type crew. We’ve got a plane; we’ve got flight attendants; but we’ve no drivers.


A couple of minutes ago, the airline personnel woman came on the speaker and announced that they’d found a flight crew for us. They’re coming in on a flight from Texas that is scheduled to land at 11:00pm. So our revised departure time is 11:30.

You should have heard the angry roar/groan that this news elicited from my fellow travelers. I looked to my right to see a young woman telling this news to somebody on the phone with the look of somebody who’d just smelled the most horrible fart of her life. Quite miserable and upset are many of these people.

As I took in the collective groan, I couldn’t help but think of the news that’s been invading the television and newspaper for the past couple of weeks—the news of hundreds of deaths, injuries, and uprootings in the Middle East. Going back further, the news of thousands of deaths, horrible bloody, violent deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past few years. Oh, we could go back further and further until the beginning of time. There are plenty of horrible, bloody, violent deaths to ponder. Plenty of people have been unbelievably inconvenienced. Plenty of plans have been permanently delayed, altered beyond recognition.

I’m not saying it’s not annoying to sit around an airport for a few extra hours. Hey, we still have an airport! It just occurred to me.

I’m just saying a little perspective is good for the soul.

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