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And in O’Hare, 45 is Plenty February 14, 2007

Posted by KG in Travels.

I’m struggling to come up with a good neologism for last Saturday morning. Seinfeldian? Rubegoldbergian? Cellphabulous? Serendippled? In the end, the word probably exists already: lucky.

I fell prey early on to that all-too-common foe: the alarm clock am/pm switcheroo. The carnival tone that was to rouse me at 0610 went off fifteen hours later, on an entirely different coast. Somewhat presciently — stressing the “some” — I had my backup alarm set for precisely 15 minutes later than I needed to be awake. After a surprisingly non-epic string of curses, I flailed about and managed to take care of what I needed in short order, getting to the metro 10 minutes later than planned, gaining back five minutes by ignoring certain concerns that usually haunt me when I’m traveling, such as triple checking my toiletries, packing more books than I need, and shaving.

The orange line train arrived as I was going through the turnstile, and I made it on with no problem. Filled with an assuredly irritating sense of self-satisfaction, I took the escalator up to the yellow line transfer. I’d make it. Screw you, time.

20 minutes later, the yellow line train arrived, and I was sweating. Well, sweating on the inside. It was very cold in the L’Enfant Plaza station.

The prior 20 minutes had been spent with other stranded travelers, all frustrated, all coincidentally having alit the metro at Eastern Market. Turns out being 10 minutes early wouldn’t have made a difference. So I had that going for me, which was nice.

We fellow travelers — the couple headed to NYC, the young guy headed to Tampa, and I, Seattle-bound, had the same twitch in the knee as we pulled into the National Airport station. We were prepped to sprint. That’s when my voicemail tone went off. United Airlines, kind folks they, were calling to inform me that my flight had been cancelled, that I was now departing an hour later, and that my O’Hare layover was shortened from 105 to 45 minutes.

My new friends, after hearing my good news, checked their own phones. No matching messages for them — the sprint was on. Watching them run, I thanked whatever higher power there is up there. Fortune, on Saturday morning, favored the tardy. I got to Seattle fine, with zero complications.

But more on that trip later.  I’m parked at a non-Starbucks drinking not-coffee and enjoying free WiFi while things I am not to participate in occur a few blocks away.  And I need another cup of — what is this stuff again?  Oh yeah, Chinese Breakfast blend tea.  This west coast, it’s a weird weird place.



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