Today has been one of the most stressful days I’ve had in a while. I woke up and immediately checked the flight loads for Boyfriend’s and my standby leg of our Nashville trip – plenty of seats available. I left for work at 6:30 AM, enjoying the beautiful sunshine and already warm temperatures, and arriving with plenty of time to make up for leaving early. Then it all went downhill.
Around 9 AM, more bookings started. There were a few passengers who didn’t make it on time to the morning flight and were getting pushed back to mine, and a few who were on the evening flight but wanted to stand by for the afternoon (though they had a confirmed seat on the later flight, if they wanted to stand by for my flight, they would be ahead of me in line). To further complicate things, another employee decided to sign up for the flight at 11 AM, and though I clicked the button to check in (our way of determining stand by priority) exactly when the countdown click got to zero seconds… he was faster and I ended up second in line. If there was one empty seat (after the other standby), we would be fine – Boyfriend could fly in it and because I had dressed up in business clothes, I could fly jumpseat. If there were fewer seats than that, we’d be screwed.
By 2 PM, the plane was booked completely full, and I was panicking. I looked up OA (other airline) flights and found a few things for $400, but… ugh. I had already spent $250 on the legs that would connect my airline’s flight with Nashville (since we don’t fly there), and I didn’t want to spend another $400 to book a totally new itinerary. But what choice did I have? The hotel was booked and I’d pay a penalty for cancelling, and the race registration was paid for and I’d lose that, and then there was the fact that I have been wanting to do the Country Music Marathon since even before I started marathoning… I knew I would have to spend it and go.
I left for the airport, totally freaking out, and called Boyfriend en route. He too was en route in a cab, but didn’t say where, and I told him I’d see him in the ticketing area of the terminal in about 20 minutes. I was cutting it a little close with the company shuttle to the airport (it only runs every hour, and I didn’t want to take the one that was two hours before my flight), but I arrived and knew I would be fine as long as I got through security quickly (thank you, airline pass, for allowing me to go through the crew line and skip the crowds). I called Boyfriend as I headed for security… to find that he was still in a cab.
“Oh… are you pulling up to the terminal now? Where are you? We really need to get to the gate in the next 15 minutes… how long will it take you?”
When he replied, “I don’t know,” and then I heard him ask the cabbie how much longer to the airport… I knew we were in trouble. Sure enough, the cabbie said, “about an hour.”
Our flight was at 4 PM, and I told Boyfriend to be at the airport at 3. He didn’t even leave the office until 2:50.
I was devastated, but as part of my new trying-to-be-really-understanding-about-how-much-his-stupid-job-sucks-even-when-it-totally-screws-me-over, I didn’t yell or cry, and I tried to reassure him instead of getting upset. I acknowledged that he must have had a stressful day and that I was sorry for that, and he told me that I needed to go to Nashville whether he came or not. And, he promised, he would start calling around to see if he could buy a ticket on another airline. He asked how important it was to me that he go, and I said I understood if he stayed, especially since it would be a lot of money for a very short trip, but that I had planned the trip around him (we’re leaving Nashville at freaking 6 AM on Sunday because he needed to be back to work by early Sunday afternoon) and that I really wanted him to be there. I gave him the info I had found earlier about alternate flights, and I boarded the plane. I was on a two stop itinerary and chances were that he would be on at least a one stop, so I told him to call and leave a voicemail with his intentions, and we could play voicemail tag on our layovers if he did end up getting on a flight and therefore wouldn’t be on his cell.
I hang up, the cabin door closes, we taxi out to the runway, and we wait… until the engine shuts off and the pilot comes on to say that there’s a queue for departure and we’ll be holding for about 30 minutes. My mind immediately races to my connection – I originally had about an hour in between, which would have been fine, but if we’re 30 minutes late…? Fortunately, before I can get too far in that thinking, the captain says that if we do leave in 30 minutes, we’ll still be within 5 minutes of our original arrival time. He then announces that while we wait, we can use the bathroom and our electronic devices, so I turn my cell back on to see what Boyfriend has figured out. He’s on the phone with reservations, and will call me back.
While I wait, I read an old copy of Runner’s World that I pulled off my stack of unread books and magazines (it’s getting much smaller now that I’m not doing consulting and I actually keep normal hours!), and I learn why, if running is so good for you, people drop dead during marathons every year. Clearly, an upbeat article! Tomorrow is supposed to be high 80s, and it’s a big marathon with over 20,000 runners, and I found myself sincerely hoping that Elite Racing has its act together better than the organizers of the Chicago Marathon did a few years ago. After all this stress, I don’t care if there is no water at all on the course – I am finishing and I am checking off Tennessee on my fifty state quest.
The captain announced that the queue has gone faster than expected, and we’ll be off in ten minutes, and so we should finish up the bathroom trips and the electronic device usage. Okay. So I call Boyfriend, who is still on the phone with reservations, and is now in the middle of the terminal and is next to impossible to hear. What I can make out is that the $400 flight is sold out, and that the only option is a $660 flight. He thinks it’s a lot (um, yeah) but wants to know if he should take it.
I didn’t know what to say. If it were me, hell no, I wouldn’t take it… but I also wouldn’t miss my already booked flight by waiting to leave for the airport until I was already supposed to be arriving at it. And then I think that while a $660 flight is ridiculously expensive to me, he kills himself to work these hours and gets paid fairly well for it… so maybe it’s only fair that if work interferes with plans that I made (and that I spent hours figuring out so as to not mess up his work schedule and to have the cheapest price), that’s what the compensation is for – to fix it.
I’m so torn on this. I want him there so badly, but I will also feel like it was a total waste of money for him to spend that much money to be there. I guess I’ll find out what happens when I get off the plane – the decision is in his hands.
In the meantime, I’m starting to wonder if all this stress will turn me into another statistic in the “runners who die of heart attacks in a marathon” surveys. I certainly hope not.