Friday, September 10, 2010

A day that starts out working like clockwork can suddenly come to a screeching halt for some of the strangest reasons. I got on a plane yesterday, put everything away, and settled in reading my new magazines. The article about new celebrity romances was interrupted by the pilot. “Ladies and gentlemen, something is broken on the plane. I’m very sorry for the inconvenience. Maintenance is on the way. The dinger is broken. It’s not loud enough. Listen.” Then he pushed the button that summons the flight attendants. It sounded just fine to me and everyone else on the flight. That’s the first time I’ve ever had a pilot test something to verify it’s brokeness to the passengers.

After a 30 minute wait the guys came onboard to investigate the sound system malfunction. I decided to make a trip to the bathroom since we were evidently in a holding pattern on the ground. Apparently to check out the intercom, power for the whole plane had to be shut down. I was in the bathroom when they hit the off switch. That was interesting. It’s really dark in an airplane bathroom. Those doors are hard enough to figure out when the lights are on.

Thirty minutes later the pilot announced a part had to be ordered so we had to deplane. Jim taught me years ago to go straight to the service desk and not waste time in the boarding podium line when things like this happen. He was right. There were only four people ahead of me there instead of 50. The service representative was trying to politely to help one man reroute on a different airline. When they finally got it figured out he stormed away saying, “I will never, never, never fly your airline again,” as his young son watched him. And we discipline kids for throwing fits.

One young woman next to me was beside herself with frustration. “All my plans are ruined for the day. Please just give me a ticket.” Then she looked at me and said through gritted teeth, “This is rIdiculous.” I so badly wanted to tell her it’s a big inconvenience, not cancer and to calm down. But I decided she might be a disgruntled postal worker on a day off, so I just knowingly smiled.

When Kyle the ticket guy gave me my new ticket and I realized I was going to be delayed 5 hours because of a broken dinger that sounded perfectly fine, I started to feel that grip of frustration in my throat too. But then I remembered it really was just a big inconvenience, not cancer. Some days just roll that way. It’s just better to roll with it.

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