Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Long Way Home

Driving that long way back to west Texas has been a struggle. Driving down to south Texas, with seeing the “boy” as my goal not so much. Watching him in my rear view mirror...that's been the challenge. Sometimes the drive either way just seems too much, so I fly. Well, this trip just may break me of flying.
My trip started Thursday 8 days ago. There was a delay after we landed in Dallas before we took off for Austin. But compared to this, it was minor.
Wednesday in Austin, before I even got to the airport, I got a phone call from SWA that the flight out of Dallas to Midland would be delayed. Oh, great I thought.  That was an understatement. Way delayed. It was suppose to take off at 8pm.  By the time we left Austin it was much closer to 9. Once it took off it took about 90 minutes or more to fly the 50 minute flight to Dallas. We circled Dallas literally a few times waiting on the air travel to clear, then we sat on the runway about 25 minutes waiting on gates to clear to get into the airport. When we got off the plane the flight attendants said “no rush, they are holding all the flights”.  I rushed anyway. As it turned out the plane was rolling away from the gate as about 11 of us from the other flight watched in disbelief, some cursing, some closing their eyes and wishing a “do-over” for the last 5 minutes. At the ticket counter as they started to “re-book” us for TOMORROW, the staff were not very cordial or apologetic which seemed to frustrate us more.  At the moment we just wanted a little empathy.  I tried to have some empathy for them as well, knowing this had been going on ALL day in Dallas for them.  They'd had tons of rain.  Us stragglers  had to ASK all the questions like “what do we do tonight”, “what does “distressed” rate mean”, “how will we get there”, “what about our luggage”. It was all very frustrating.  There were four of us, women, in a group that sort of stuck together, like women do.  Unlike men, I think women like to assist and help each other rather than trying to do it all on our own in times of distress.
Even more frustrating was trying to “find” our luggage, which after over an hour, only two of us did.  Praise God, one of those was me.  After a long 2 hours at the airport we finally arrived at the designated hotel at 12:30am.   When I got to the room I tried to change the 8:00am flight I had scheduled with the gal at the airport to 10:30am after the desk told us we needed to be downstairs waiting for the shuttle at 5:30am to catch that flight.  I just didn't think I could do it.  In my attempt to change my flight to 10:30, I got disconnected 4 times from SWA. After 30 minutes on the phone I got it done.  After showering, I finally got into the bed about 1:30am.  This morning when I got to the airport, it cost me $2.50 more to have changed that flight...REALLY, are you kidding.  At that point I didn't care, I just wanted to go home.
This morning the flight was to leave at 10:35am.  The plane finally pulled up and loaded passengers about 11:00am. I finally arrived in Midland just after noon.  I was so exhausted after hauling my carry on bag all over the airport for two days.  It was loaded with my camera, my lenses, my laptop, my purse and several books.  Oh my.  At the baggage claim area I found my bags.  As I took a deep breath and attempted one last time to swing that heavy carryon bag over my shoulder and tackle my two rolling suitcases and 3 hanging items, a young man walked up and said "do you need help with your bags"?  His cap said "sky cab".  Tears rolled down my face.  Fatigue was quickly setting in.  I said "yes please, that would be so helpful".  He looked at me and said, "don't worry, I'll get everything for you".  And he did.  He followed me out to the area where a van picks me up to take me to my car.  He told me, as we walked, he had just moved here from California on Saturday, leaving all his friends and family to come out to west Texas for "opportunity" and live with his dad.  I was impressed that it only took him a few days to find a job and that he was motivated.  I tipped him well, but wish I had tipped him more.  He really did save the day and my tears became smiles at hearing his story and receiving his help.  
When I picked up my car they had not washed it as requested.  They gave me a free car wash for next time.  Will there be a next time?  Probably.  After all that, I'm sure, with God's blessing, I had simply avoided the picnic table in the road!

Encourage One Another  

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