Living and Learning: dealing with triggering travel

“What do you mean, ‘I don’t know’????!!!!”

Ok, not my finest moment.

I was feeling pretty pumped about escaping the recent historic snow storm with a perfectly timed flight for a quick weekend in LA last Friday morning. Long story, but my travel day from LA to NYC the following Monday involved a stop in Minneapolis. A delay out of LA found me sprinting to catch my connection, and–right on!–I made it and we were off and on track for an on-time arrival into LaGuardia Airport. All was working out. Upon our arrival, I waited to collect my gate-checked bag at the baggage carousel and noticed there was an unusually large number of people milling about. I was still so happy I made it home, I didn’t think much of it until heading out to the taxi line which wrapped and wrapped and extended the length of the terminal. That’s when I also noticed that the traffic in the airport was at a standstill, and that no one was going anywhere. Full stop. And because I not long ago finished reading Station Eleven, it felt like a scene from what I imagine future end times to look like and I got nervous.

So naturally I started asking questions. I got a bit of information from the employees of one of the shuttles that runs to and from Manhattan: that traffic was atrocious and none of their shuttle buses could even get into the airport. Travelers had already been waiting for 4 hours for the bus, in fact. The idea of being trapped at LaGuardia (!!) for an undetermined amount of time was starting to incite internal panic. What to do!?! I turned to the desk where three employees sat under a signs that said things like “Welcome,” “Customer Care” “Information” and thought ‘A-ha, here we go,’ and approached employee #1 and calmly asked,” What’s going on here?”

When he leaned back, crossed his arms and said,”I don’t know,” well, I kind of got mad and wasn’t particularly kind about my frustration with his approach (cringe). I then turned to employee #2, asked the exact same question, and he told me about that in addition to the snow-related flight backlog and the multiple traffic accidents blocking the vehicle entrance and exit of the airport. He also told me that within about 10 minutes I could walk right out of the airport and catch a cab. And that’s exactly what I did. But not before giving employee #1 some stink eye (cringe again).

Sigh, it wasn’t employee #1’s fault, this was a complicated travel day that got crazier due to a conflation of uncontrollable factors, and likely, his Monday had been spectacularly rotten way before I ever showed up. To do it again, I would have channeled my higher self, stayed calm and let what come my way just roll off me. And I mostly did well, but when I didn’t, I really didn’t. I’m not proud of it and I’d apologize for it given the chance. But, I’m also not trying to be a human-perfect, just a human-learning. And I’m giving myself credit for recognizing where I fell down and how I could do better. And honestly, it’s the only move I’ve got. You too?

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