I've said before that I'm a lucky person. I'm never sick. My flights are always on time. When Plan A falls through, Plan B often works out even better. This doesn't mean that my life hasn't been marred by terrible tragedy. Luck is not the same thing as immunity to the human condition. But overall my luck has been pretty remarkable.
My travel plans yesterday were: fly from Eugene to Salt Lake City, fly from Salt Lake City to Indianapolis, get home around midnight (the time change flying west to east doesn't work in one's favor), sleep, get up, teach my beloved children's literature class, then go directly back to the airport to fly to Denver for Thanksgiving break with my family. I didn't even bother checking the flight status online before I left Lorena's house for the airport, because my flights are always on time. When I got to the airport, the monitor said my flight was on time. Of course it was, because my flights are always on time.
But as the scheduled moment for boarding drew near, it became apparent that something was wrong, and that this particular flight was NOT going to be on time. An announcement was made about "mechanical difficulties" that might take a while to fix. (We found out only later that the reason the repairs took so long was the mechanic had to be summoned from Portland!). An hour or two later, it became apparent that many if not most of us would miss our connecting flights. An announcement was made that we should start hoping very hard that our flight didn't get canceled altogether, because if it did, there were NO available seats on ANY flights by ANY airlines out of Eugene all week, because of the Thanksgiving holiday crush.
We all lined up to work on our respective Plan Bs. (I have to say that throughout the whole episode, the Delta staff at the gate couldn't have been more helpful and sympathetic). I learned that there was no way now that I could get any connecting flight from Salt Lake to Indy that would get me back to DePauw in time to teach my beloved students. WAHH!!!! Tearfully, I emailed them to cancel class.
But Plan B turned out to be not without its own charms. There now being no point whatsoever to my flying to Indy, I arranged to fly directly from Salt Lake to Denver. The flight from Eugene did indeed take off four hours late, to cheers from all of us. I spent the night as Delta's guest at a pleasant airport hotel by the Salt Lake City airport and had a most tasty sandwich at a restaurant that stayed open just to welcome our group of "distressed passengers."
Now I'm at the airport for my 6:50 a.m. flight to Denver, which will get me home hours and hours before I would have arrived on Plan A. I'm still heartbroken about missing my class (after all, I had been willing to fly all the way across the country at considerable expense just to teach it), but there is a strange relief that comes in that moment when one bows to what can't be otherwise. And a few extra hours of holiday time at home is sweet compensation.
So it's no longer true that my flights are always on time. What's true is that my flights are ALMOST always on time, and that when they aren't, the rest of my life turns out to be still a good life, anyway. And that's what I call being a lucky person.