Friday, June 29, 2007

There might be a lesson or two in here somewhere ...

The plan was for me to come back from South Carolina on Wednesday and do my oral exam on Thursday. Roughly speaking, that's what happened, but like many stories, there's a nice "travelling sucks" story stuck in the middle.

So Wednesday morning, my mom drove me up to Charlotte and it was no problem at all getting to Detroit (I was flying Northwest). As we were landing, a nice thunderstorm broke out, and so we got to sit on the tarmack for about an hour before someone would come out and bring out the jetbridge so we could get off. I grabbed a sandwich and talked on the phone for a bit (long layover) and worked on my presentation some. I was working enough that I didn't even notice my flight back to Columbus had been delayed a bit, but I didn't care since I didn't have a tight schedule. When they finally let us onto the plane, the two people ahead of me in line got all huffy with the boarding ticket lady because they didn't realize that they couldn't bring their big suitcase onto the plane and had to check it planeside. Oh, and they were rather drunk. Finally get on the plane and one of them is sitting across the aisle from me and smells like a nice ashtray—quite unpleasant. Eventually someone comes onto the plane and asks to "talk" to them "for a minute." They go; I get two seats to myself. We then sit at the gate for another twenty minutes for security to deal with the drunk people (why they needed the plane there to do that is beyond me). We then go sit on the runway for about an hour before the pilot tells us that we don't have enough fuel to get to Columbus because we're being rerouted, so they take us back to the gate before letting us know the flight has been cancelled. By this time it's after 8pm, and I was supposed to be back in Columbus before 6:30. Needless to say, Northwest was fully uninterested in getting me back to Ohio that night; they said they "might" be able to get me back "tomorrow." Tomorrow? Might? I have an exam at 2:30 that I'm—oh yeah—unprepared for! In the meantime, I had made friends with some ladies in the back of the plane (apparently watching smelly drunk people get kicked off a plane is a bit of a bonding experience). One of them was able and willing to rent a car on her company credit card and drive the four of us back to Columbus. (Thanks, Robin!) By the way, this is another example of why to never check luggage; I was the only one in the car with all of the stuff I had been hoping to leave with. I pretty much never spend time around "real" people, so I was pleasantly surprised when the conversation was lively and interesting the whole way back—and it definitely made for an upbeat ending to a rather shit-tastic birthday. I was dropped off at the airport, where I picked up my car and finally made it home sometime after 1 a.m.

Thursday, I was fairly dead to the world. I was reeeeeally hoping that some combination of caffeine, adrenaline, and maybe even anxiety would suffice for waking me up, but not so much. The hour before the presentation I spent trying (unsuccessfully) to nap on my desk. The talk itself went okay; somewhere in my academic past I have learned to give a half-decent presentation on auto-drive. The more than an hour of questioning afterwards, however ... let's just say it was a rather embarassing experience I'd rather not reminisce over and leave it at that. I passed of course, and I went out for wings afterwards (BW3s has finally re-opened near campus), but I am forced to wonder how it would have gone if I had actually been cogent and lucid, and actually, you know, prepared for the ordeal instead of taking a five day joy trip to a place that has the power of giving me a really thick accent.


Laurel said...

Flying SUCKS.
But hey, major congrats on passing your quals!

mollishka said...

Agreed ... and thanks!