The Odyssey

In a continuation of yesterday’s epic journey from Indiana to Philadelphia (you might want to start a few entries back at “Greetings from Indiana”), I write this entry sitting on the floor of the Pittsburgh airport, outside the men’s room, near the only power outlet I can find. I say “yesterday’s” trip as it is now 12:15am. A word of warning, as I will not be moving from this spot in the foreseeable future, you may want to get comfortable, perhaps grab a snack, since I sense I’ll be rambling on about whatever may cross my mind in an effort to hold on to my fleeting sanity.

We managed to make it from Indiana to Pittsburgh intact; however I can honestly say it was the hands down worst flying experience of my life (to be potentially topped in an indefinite amount of time when I finally board my flight to Philly). Again finding myself in a propeller plane, we were informed that it may be a “bumpy flight” due to the storms, where “bumpy” is pilot-speak for “scary as hell.” Despite claims to fly around the storms, repeated removal of my head from between my knees only resulted in me witnessing fire and brimstone raining down from the heavens above.

No wait, let me start over. I’m on this fantastic journey with a coworker named Brian. Brian is a former Major in the Air Force, serving a solid 15 years and logging over 5000 hours in the air.

I am a whiny, fragile computer programmer, barely remembering what I was doing 15 years ago and logging a cool 15 hours in the air.

Brian used to be a navigator on B-52 bombers. By navigator, I mean he used to drop stuff… bombs, people, tanks, and a 1200 lb. vibrator about which I followed my better judgment in not asking for clarification.

I defecate myself upon the slightest turbulence. Sorry for the graphic imagery, but bear with me, it’s been a long day.

So amidst the apocalyptic tsunami in which we found ourselves, Brian turns to me and declares triumphantly, “This is so cool.” Upon focusing my attention on the alarmingly close lightning bolts, he proceeds to tell me he has been struck by lightning while flying 8 times.

Eight times.

I’ve often wondered if I will ever have a “life changing event.” I don’t think I really need one, I’m pretty happy with how things are now and I don’t see a need to jumpstart myself into any drastic changes. To me, being struck by lightning while in a plane qualifies as a life changing event. And the first of said changes is to adopt a policy of never again coming within 500 yards of an airplane. This psychopath not only decided to tempt fate again, but upon repeated signs from the powers that be continued to partake in airborne activities.

Where was I? Oh ya, so we survived, ending up in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, derived from the words “Pit” meaning “pit” and “tsburgh” meanng “of hell.” White-knuckled (and white-faced as well), I race over to my next gate. This is at about 10pm. The flight was supposed to leave at 10:20. After quick call to Meg to tell her I’m alive in Pittsburgh, I found myself pacing in an attempt to get blood flowing to my extremities.

Jay’s Life Sucks, Take 1 – Broken plane. There was an issue with the air conditioning exhaust, which was to take an hour to fix. I do the math. That equates to a 5 minute call to Meg to tell her I’ll be late (later than the original 1am expected arrival at home) and 55 minutes to bitch and moan. And bitch and moan I did, let me tell you. In the middle of my rant, they announce they have a new plane for us. We pick up all of our belongings we “may have brought with us” (something about that phrase bothers me) and like a herd of cattle, we graze down a few gates.

Jay’s Life Sucks, Take 2 – Philly is closed. Due to thunderstorms, we can’t leave because we have no place to land. It’s roughly 11pm now. I don’t know how many people have been in the Pittsburgh airport, but it’s quite a site to behold. I repeatedly accidentally referred to it as a mall. There are a ton of brand name stores, including Victoria’s Secret, GNC, and Staples. I don’t imagine I’ll ever understand why there is a need for a Victoria’s Secret in the airport. Regardless, there is also a food court. Everything from McDonald’s to TGIFridays, Ben and Jerry’s to Wok and Roll.


The airport is booming with people. It honestly looked much earlier than 11pm with the amount of people that were around. And for some reason, the airport food court shuts down at 10:30. So now I am here, frustrated, tired, and worst of all, hungry. In a fortunate turn of events, I happen to have two protein bars that I will have to cower into a corner and consume lest I be mobbed by the gang of fellow hungry, pissed off Philadelphians. Also somewhere in this timeframe, we moved to another gate. Moo.

This takes our story to about midnight. By this point, I’ve resolved myself to going into work late. The time I arrive at work is proportional to the amount of time I spend in this godforsaken airport. It originally started at getting in at 10, then it moved to 11, now I’m not even planning on setting my alarm and will arrive when I’m good and damn ready, if at all. Something about being across the state of Pennsylvania at 1am screams sick day.

The flight attendant guy picks up the phone again to address us. Formerly greeted by anticipated and hopeful passengers, he now cowardly lifts the receiver to his mouth in anticipation of the boos and hisses he is about to receive for his news. I tried to start a “You suck” chant, but it didn’t take. Nevertheless, this man is now the most hated man in the airport, and I believe he honestly fears for his life.

As a side note, one of the other guys on my flight just joined me. We are starting a small clan of computer dorks that hang out outside the men’s room in order to get power. We huddle over the laptop screens as if drawing heat and light from them. Which we are, since they dimmed the lights an hour ago. No joke. We have gotten a few goofy looks from our fellow, would-be passengers, but joke’s on them, I’m not bored.

As another side note, my computer just informed me there may be a wireless network in the airport. When I finish this, or at least stop to take a break and get feeling back in my legs, I’ll have to do some recon in an attempt to post the trials and tribulations of my night in real time. Not like real time would matter, since everyone else is asleep in their beds right now. I hate you all.

Where was I? Better question, why are you still reading this? Sorry, I went off on a bit of a tangent there. Again, bear with me, it’s been a long ass day.

Oh ya, so the flight attendant gets on the speaker. Turns out, the storm passed and Philly is open again.

Jay’s Life Sucks, Take 3 – Now Pittsburgh is closed. I wish I was kidding. I look outside, the fire and brimstone we had passed through earlier has caught up to us and is now screwing with my life again. This takes our hero to 12:45.

Jay’s Life Sucks, Take 4 – Pittsburgh is still closed, but even if it opens, we no longer have a crew for the plane. So we have to wait at least another 90 minutes for a crew to show up. In doing so, they move us to yet another gate (that’s number 4 for those of you keeping track at home), which is where I sit now, having found the only other power outlet in all of the Pittsburgh airport. It’s 1am. People are attempting to sleep, sitting up, laying on someone else, or just flat out on the ground. I too am going to attempt to sleep, so I’ll finish up this story at a later time.

1 comment

  1. Jay – sounds like you had a late nite. I love the way you write. I am glad Lucas was able to entertain you.

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