"I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I write and I understand." - Chinese proverb

Monday, January 25, 2010


It was a few years ago and I was coming back from one of my many expeditions out west. I flew out of San Diego, landed in El Paso and then had to change planes in Houston. Once I got to Houston and checked in and got my boarding pass, I decided to buy my father a hat with "Texas" on it. This involved finding the right store, standing in line, buying it and then going through security again to get back to the boarding area, but I had changed my watch and had more than enough time before my plane was to leave for Providence.

When I got back to the boarding area I looked around and noticed that everyone had different colored boarding passes than me. This seemed strange, but I figured maybe they are first class or something. I sat around for awhile and as I sat there an uncomfortable feeling began to gnaw at me. I felt that something just wasn't right; it was taking too long for them to call for boarding. Finally I went up to the agent and asked her when the flight to Providence was leaving. She looked at me funny and then she saw my boarding pass. She said "ma'am, that flight left a half an hour ago." I put my head down on the counter and I said "Houston, we have a problem."

She said "Are you passenger Blair by any chance? Because we've been paging you over the intercom." I said yes - but my watch showed it was at least another half hour until that flight was scheduled to take off. She said "Ma'am, what time zone do you think you're in?" With a sinking feeling I said "Mountain?" She said "No, you're in Central. You made a mistake when you set your watch." I said "Can you get me on to another flight east?" She looked at the computer and said "The farthest east we can get you is Baltimore, Maryland." I said "I'll take it." I jumped on the plane and as soon as we were up in the air I had to use that phone that's in the back of the seat in front of you to call my friend who was picking me up and tell him to stay put until further notice. This did not surprise him.

We landed in Baltimore and the next flight to Providence wasn't until the next morning. I realized I would have to spend the night in the airport. Just down from me was a group of people who had missed a connection in Phoenix due to weather. They were getting vouchers for a free night in an airport hotel. I mingled in with them and was able to get a voucher myself and take the shuttle to the hotel. The next morning I took the shuttle back and got on the flight to Providence. When I landed I had to go to this special office because my baggage had gotten there the night before. This made me look suspicious and it took some time to explain the situation.

Finally I got my bag and found a bench to lay down on (I was effing exhausted!!) until my friend came to pick me up. He was not exactly punctual, and I fell into a half-sleep hearing all these people talking Portugese all around me. When my friend did finally arrive, I asked him what took him so long. He said the airport parking lot was full, and he had to keep circling round and round waiting for a flight to land and people to get in their cars and leave so he could find a parking space. You can't make this stuff up.

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