I arrived at the airport at 6. After I checked my bags, I sat in the lobby watching the pinks and purples in the sky turn to shades of blue.
My flight had a layover in Atlanta, Georgia. From there it was a straight shot to Pittsburgh. My estimated time of arrival was shortly after noon. My best friend was picking me up from the airport. I had only been gone a week, but I couldn't' wait to see her.
Once I was safe on the ground in Georgia, I quickly figured out which gate I needed to go to. At the time I expected a 30 minute wait, but once I arrived at my gate I realized how wrong I was. The pilots who were supposed to take me home had decided that of all mornings, this would be the one when they chose to go on strike.
I had the option of purchasing a ticket for another airline, or waiting for my original airline to find me another flight. Having just spent all my money at the Magic Kingdom, I was unable to buy a ticket for a thousand dollars. I was forced to wait. While pacing up and down the short hallway it occurred to me that I had to inform my friend that she shouldn't meet me at our airport at noon. This was before cell phones, so I had to use a pay phone to call her. Remember those?
I should also inform you that this was before smoking was banned from inside buildings.
I entered the pay phone room. Three of the dingy cream colored walls were lined with phones. The fourth was made of glass with an opening no wider than your average door frame. Every single person on those phones were just as frustrated as me. What does a smoker do when frustrated? Light one up. There were no windows nor any kind of ventilation. It was all I could do not to gag. And I was a smoker.
After what felt like hours, but was really closer to one, a flight had been found for me. But it wouldn't take me home. Yet another layover was added to my adventure. A detour, you could say. To New York.
I was informed that once in New York, my layover would be a quick one. I would be home before I knew it. What no one realized was that Pittsburgh was experiencing a rainy and thunderous apocalypse. This meant more waiting, more pacing, more phone calls, and much begging for "Delayed" to switch to "Now boarding".
After 2 hours of waiting, I was finally on my way back home. My flight from Laguardia to Pittsburgh International was the shortest of the 3, yet the most frightening. I have never experienced turbulence before than, and I have no desire to experience it ever again. My head bounced off the window like a red rubber ball more times than I can count. Suitcases from the overheads were thrown to the ground. Once stepping off that plane at 6 pm, it took everything I had not to kiss the solid ground I was walking on.
That is one detour I hope to never have to do again.
This week's Red Writing Hood assignment is to write - fiction or non-fiction - about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?
Orlando to Atlanta to Pittsburgh, with an unintentional stop in New York. I would just like to point out that I have now been to not one, but two New York airports and have yet to see any other part of the city. Hopefully someday I can. But I think I'll drive.