Just getting back to the traveling grind is what that made my life so busy the past week. I think it is more of trying to get my bearings right in my first week on the road – not that I was really tied up. Northwest Airlines files for chapter 11 protection and I get to fly on their carrier on a Sunday afternoon. A dopey Sunday mid-morning tennis date with my sister-in-law and her husband gave Kameshwari an opportunity to show some of her recently learned skills. Nevertheless, I soon figured out I was not hitting the ball clean. This was just my second time on the tennis court this year and I realized how much I miss this game. Not long ago, I was a regular in my hometown tennis club (not to boast of the only one we had) every morning hitting the ball tough and hard against a bunch of equally enthusiastic tennis lovers who would give a run for my every run on a perfectly dried up yet closely supervised (by a hung-over tennis coach) clay court. If there was one (or 2) tennis court(s) I could swear my allegiance to for all the stroking pleasure, it would be those two – Darn! Did I owe my forehand to those 2 young chaps who arguably were of my age (about) but were inarguably smaller than me? Well. This may be called digressing…
An hour worth of tennis later, I just had an hour to pack my bags and get to the airport – After comfortably getting seated in Seat 8 A; I closed my eyes for what I thought was for a sense of rest. But 2 hours later, we were still at the gate and by the time I landed in Orlando, the reception dinner for which I was going to was definitely over. The drive to this resort was not all that bad and I was only too glad to find out that there was a Chinese restaurant right across the street which was open still at 10 PM. The next 3 days were just loads and barrels of fun interspersed with some highly drool-worthy, five-star food always laced with great desserts and the not-so-forgettable beer & wine. Oh! Did I forget to mention that I was in training for those 3 days?
After I got home at 9:30 PM on Wednesday, knowing very well that I had to make a quick drive back to the airport the next morning, I was just excited to see Nakul albeit in his sleeping posture. Driving to the airport at 4:30 AM is terrible. But it is worse when you find out after going to the airport that your flight is delayed.
I was cursing United airlines all along – I could have chosen a Northwest flight that was leaving an hour later (to keep my miles bank going). After a mad rush out of O’Hare and a long drive to my client site, I was relaxed to be in their well lit lounge.
When things go wrong, things that follow just go wrong’er’. More than 5 hours in a stationary plane that evening (almost from 6 PM to 11 PM), we were literally kicked out of the plane after all the wait – it was agonizing beyond any word in my regular & politically correct vocabulary. Painful like never before and hopefully never again. Finally at midnight, I trudged out of the plane and dashed off to the rental car counter. A Cadillac Deville just gave me some comfort on that sleep depraved-300-mile-drive night. The drive back home never felt so long. Finally, I was home at 4:50 AM.
For the simple reason I didn’t want to wake my wife up, I wanted to open the door as quietly as I could. Kameshwari probably was wondering all night long why the hell I hadn’t called her, with the slightest idea on how my new cell phone had no juice left in it. I was not successful – My many attempts to get the right key into the key hole only made her walk to the door.
“Hmm… did you drive..?”
“Yes. I did honey…”
That was my week of flight delays and airport snacks. At least Harlan Coben’s “Gone for Good” gave me some sleazy company.