Friday, February 01, 2008

How my week began

First of all, you have to understand that I didn't get any sleep Saturday night. From 11:30-5:30, we were dealing with a sick child. Then at 6:00 my alarm went off, telling me it was time to get up, to get ready for the Sunday services ahead. So I entered Sunday morning on perhaps 20-30 minutes of sleep.

Then you must remember, we had tickets to the Sonics game Sunday night. And just getting there was confusing enough. We left shortly after church and stopped in Key Center to see everybody at the Delores Leigh fundraiser. Then off to Karina's sister's to drop off Clara. Then to the Park-and-Ride in Purdy to pick up Roshni. Then to Port Orchard to meet Jake Bradley (formerly of Turlock). Then across the Puget sound on the ferry to West Seattle, where we picked up Leah Ingram (formerly of Turlock). Then up to Seattle Center where we met my brother and his friend and Martin (formerly of Upland, CA) and his girlfriend Kelly. Dinner at McMenamins, then the game (In which Seattle was almost blown out, then came back to tie on a miracle 3-point shot with 6.1 seconds left, only to lose on a buzzer-beater at the very end). Then coffee at Cafe Ladro. Then the drive to West Seattle to drop off Leah and Jake, and the drive to Tacoma to pick up some of Roshni's stuff, then the drop-off of Roshni in Purdy (where we found her car frozen in a block of ice) and finally home at midnight.

My alarm went off at 5:00. Time to get up and head to the airport to catch my flight to Seattle. Throw on a sweatshirt and jeans - I can take a shower when I get to Chicago, I think to myself. I walk outside. It is snowing. Traffic is therefore very slow. But I make it to the airport, get checked in, walk to the gate. . .and find the flight delayed 2 1/2 hours. A number of other Covenant pastors are on the same flight, so at least I can find some breakfast and have a conversation or two.

I get on the plane, to find a man sitting in my seat - the window seat. I would soon discover he's from China, up near Mongolia, and doesn't speak much English. "Excuse me, I think that's my seat." "Uh, yes. 24A!" "Right. But. . .I have the ticket for 24A." "Right! 24A!" "Where is your seat?" "Uh. . .middle! I sit so I look out window!" "But I have the ticket for that seat. " "Yes! I look out window!" And everybody's looking at me and smirking bemusedly. I take the middle seat.

Finally we're all ready to go, but we're sitting there. And sitting there. And sitting there. First, it's "because the flight was delayed, there's a backup going to Chicago, so we're waiting for our slot." Then it's "the boys are out there de-icing the wings." Finally, it's "we added a couple people at the last minute, so they have to rearrange the luggage down below, to keep the weight load level."

And then, eventually, we're in the air, and get to Chicago late but safe and sound. We all go down to the luggage carousel. About 5 pieces of luggage come off. About 50 of us are waiting. And waiting. And waiting. 30 minutes go by, and still nothing. After all this time, somebody wanders off and finds an Alaska Airlines representative. "Oh, yes. They took 40-50 bags off that flight." "Um, what?" "Yes. Just before they took off they removed 40-50 bags from the flight. They're coming in later."

So, explain this to me. At the last minute, 3 or 4 people were added to the flight. And to compensate, 40-50 bags were taken off the flight. I don't understand that math. What I also don't understand is why Alaska Airlines didn't send a representative to the gate, or to the carousel to greet us and tell us what had happened. Or why they didn't make an announcement on the plane? Instead, they left us to mill around, wasting a good 30-45 minutes waiting for luggage that would never show up.

Of course, all's well that ends well. I didn't get to put on clean clothes as soon as I got to the hotel. I had to hold my contacts in a coffee cup when I went to sleep that night. I didn't get to brush my teeth. But around 2:30 a.m. the phone rang and the bellman told me the bag was there, and shortly thereafter he brought it to the room, and I had clean clothes and toothpaste and my pajamas, and I drifted back to sleep, for a few more hours.

So, if you saw me in Chicago in the last few days, and I appeared sleepy, now you know why.

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