How to begin. This day, the beginning of my trip to spend Halloween with my peepsters, and then sashay down to NYC, began last night. I did laundry, packed my layers of clothes (where my sister lives is in a damp valley), packed my chargers, phone, meds, and beauteous –creating items.
This morning I heard the alarm at 8am, and hit the snooze; something I never do. Hopped in the shower, and got ready—somehow more slowly than usual. After I got my Americano, a light in my car came on: icon for low air in a tire. (Which one? Who knows?) Stopped at two gas stations to see if they or I could put air in my tires. No can do. I breathed, looked at the beautiful blue day, and said, “What the hell. It’ll be fine.” And it was fine. I reached the Park N Fly, hopped right on a shuttle and got to the airport. When I checked in at a kiosk, an innocuous question appeared: would you like to update to first class for $? I laughed out loud, and said out loud, “Hell, yes!” And so I did.
Getting on to the plane in seat 1A ---how many of you do THAT, huh? I was immediately asked if I wanted a beverage and a snack. Meanwhile, the great unwashed (whose masses usually contain me) shuffled by. I wasn’t the typical first class person, I guess. The shufflers gawped at me, my jeans, my clogs, and multi layered tops. I smiled as I sipped my coffee, enjoying the seat being sizable enough that I could sit in an open lotus position (“Indian style”) . This is going to be one sweet flight. Ah, sweetness went by all too quickly. Do you know that you can drink all the alcohol you want and eat all the snacks you want FOR FREE? While I didn’t have the alcohol, I did have a can of the Bloody Mary mix. 62% of the day’s sodium. I don’t care. It was damn good. She gave me two bottles of vodka with one can of tomato juice. Whoa. I gave them back, and then asked for more snacks. Sure!
OH! And this is after we had an irate passenger –who was close to getting thrown off the plane. He was irate that a person ‘threw’ his bag onto the planeside check in area. I didn’t know such fury could surge over such an innocent action. Well anyway, he was pissed and calling people stupid. Apparently if he had sworn, he’d have been thrown off. People who could potentially cause a problem generally use language with a little more punch. Yeah. So the rest of the flight was fine.
I call my sister while waiting for the next flight that will take me to her in Connecticut. I ask her how the weather is—first snow, a duzy—her husband says it’s fine, and he’ll meet me at the baggage claim at the airport. Okay, cool. I turned off my phone, and took a nap on the next flight.
BOOM! We land on a snowy runway, white, cotton candy like snow flying by us as we are slowing down. Turn on my phone. A missed call. I don’t want to know who called me. There was a text. Aw, god. Here we go. My sister and family were not coming to get me, and could they come tomorrow? Tomorrow? I immediately used my Crackberry to get the number of the hotel AT the airport. No rooms. Hmm. Went down stairs to the bank of hotels you can reach by speed-dialing them. No room; no vacancy; I’m sorry we’re full.
AND THEN MY FATHER’S ENERGY WENT RIGHT THROUGH ME. I heard the woman next to me successfully getting a room! I smiled and gently touched her elbow: “Would you get one for me, too?” She smiled and said, sure! Power in numbers. It never hurts to ask. Now we had to get to the hotel. I’d forgotten to ask which one, so we kept waiting and waiting outside in the chilly snowstorm. 15, 20, 30, 45 minutes. No shuttle from the hotel. We made a group decision to call the hotel back to double check when the shuttle was coming. They were NOT coming, due to weather. Okay. Taxis were not running. Public transport was very limited. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh HA! MY DAD COMES TO ME AGAIN—he showed me the waiting Limo, which had been sitting as long as we’d been waiting. I grabbed my new friend, and said, “Come on!” Maybe my First Class Trip would end with a limo drive! The limo driver’s seat was empty. Bummer. However, Dad struck again, and showed me to a van. I was not afraid, which is unusual. It was an unmarked van, no company name. We looked in the passenger’s side window, and the man rolled it down. I said, “Are you waiting for someone?” Yes, he was waiting, but the clients were stuck on the tarmac. I smiled my dad’s smile, happy and optimistic, and asked if he could drive me and my friend to the hotel about 10 minutes from the airport. The window rolled up. I looked at my friend and told her “Why not ask? He could always say no.” Not once did I have any nerves or indicators of danger, as I have had in the past. The window rolled back down.
“I’ll take you for $30.” My god, a bargain from where we stood. I asked if that was $30 each, and he said, “No, for the both of you.” My dad led us right to someone who could help. I’m not saying that either one of us women couldn’t have figured it out, but we were flabbergasted and tired, out of sorts,…but I am saying that women generally don’t look at a limo, ready to ask for a ride, and then find a white van, and ask its driver. My father pumped calm courage into me. I felt it with certainty. This delightful older gentleman drove us, carefully, to our hotel. I love his accent. Now that I’ve been in Minnesota for 10 years, I finally recognize Connecticut Salt has an accent. He was so lovely. He got our bags, we gave him twice what he’d asked, and gave him the Italian mille baci that scratched my cheek a little. My new friend gave him a hug. Cheekily he said, “Ladies, maybe I’ll come back tomorrow to get more of that!” Sly, cheeky man. He was heading back to the airport to pick up the people that were hopefully off the tarmac. It was 7.30pm. He was going to drive them to New York City, about 3 hours away, and then drive himself home. I had a little crush on him. I also know my dad guided me to him. Someone to help me who was kind and trustworthy. Someone he could trust to help his daughter. I am as certain of this as I am my own name.
So here I am ensconced in my hotel room, toasty, watching National Geographic on TV, and full from a free dinner of instant macaroni and cheese, provided by the hotel. Restaurant was closed, many places around the area are without power.
Life is good. I am not alone. It’s easy to ask . I find it easier to do this kind of thing in CT and New England (New York, too) because these are my people. We can approach each other casually, with excitement or nerves, and we’re on the same level. Everyone was stressed out. But some of us worked together to achieve our goals. This is what I find so heartwarming. From the lady scoring us both hotel rooms, to our hero who got us to the hotel, and then the hotel staff allowing customers to pillage their little “market” of instant mac and cheese, chips, candy, cookies, beer, wine, and soda—for no cost.
I have no idea when my sister will pick me up tomorrow. She says nine. I’m thinking closer to 10. She’s not of this circle of incredible events. She backed out when she had the chance. But, since she did, I got to meet these interesting people, characters in a wintery blizzard.
The power has now gone out in our hotel. The light of the computer is all there is. Our refuge has finally succumbed to the storm. I am getting tired, and with earplugs I should sleep just fine. What’s hitting me over and over is the strong positive energy I felt within me throughout all of this day, especially when things got messy. If that limo driver had been in the car, I would have walked over, shaken his hand, and ask him if wasn’t busy could he take me and my friend to our hotel. In a million years I couldn’t have imagined I’d have the guts to do that, or approach the driver of the van. It was my father, gently pushing me from behind (and beyond) to let people show me their best. Or at least, show MY best in a tough situation. Ironically, the hotel at which I am staying is less than a mile from where my father worked. I also do not feel angry at my sister. Part of me would like to, but I’m just not there. I’ll be happy to see the kids, of course, say hello to my brother in law, and try to spend some real time with my sister at her bakery. I hope it is going to be a success. I want to hear all about it. I want to catch up on as much of her life as I can squeeze into these few days. I don’t know when I’ll hear from her again.
People say a lot of stupid things. In the end it’s up to me. That is really stupid. The person who says that doesn’t trust people to complete tasks correctly or even have a history of fucking up. The person who feels it’s all up to me is not looking around, seeing all the good help to be found. In Minnesota, the culture is as frigid as the temperatures. I can’t imagine any of this happening there. Not a lot of genuine warmth. But in my home state, where we speak the same language, it’s okay to ask, to joke with someone we don’t know, to make transportation plans with a stranger. To have a stranger make an extra hotel reservation for a stranger. My body language is understood here, my mannerism is not considered brash or bossy; it’s how everyone is here, and people get along just fine. Better than fine. It’s okay to be weak here, or at least in need of assistance. Now I know I’m talking about something relatively minor, but I believe this culture would react the same in a more dire circumstance. Real people helping other real people. How blessed and comforted I feel by coming home. My father is with me, he wants me here with my sister, niece and nephew for Halloween. He helped me the whole way to get here. As far as was safe. I love you, Dad.