March 28, 2007
What A Trip
John Steinbeck wrote of his travels across America, "You don't take a trip. A trip takes you." This was totally apparent when my planned getaway with my friend who had a free stay at a fabulous eco resort in Mexico turned into a total adventure. And I never left New York.
I suppose I should be proud to have been a survivor of the worst weather day of aviation history at JFK airport on that fateful Friday. Driving to the airport early that morning had left me with the feeling of simply being glad to be alive. For the first time in my life I had a near death experience in what I was sure at the time was going to be a horrible car crash.
Not known for its traction, my car started to skid one way then the other on the highway, and my efforts to get it back on track were useless as the car went into a 360 degree spin careening across the entire highway and through the grass median headed into oncoming traffic. Luckily the snow-laden grass slowed us down enough that we came to a halt untouched. My friend couldn't believe how calm I was as I repeated the mantra, "We're fine. We're fine. It's okay," claiming all her other friends would have been screaming at the top of their lungs.
We managed to get to the airport without further incident and were thrilled to discover when we arrived that my upgrade request from being a frequent flyer had come through. Clearly our guardian angels were working double time. Saving us from death was one thing but getting a free upgrade to first class was really impressive.
Once we arrived at our gate, however, the series of freezing rain delays began. After about two hours of this I proposed settling into the Admirals Club where we could lounge in greater comfort. My friend agreed. On the way in we bumped into a very attractive man who was also on our flight, and my friend squealed with delight, "Are you John Legend?"
"Yes," he replied.
"Oh my god, it's so no nice to meet you. I looooovvvvee you."
"I wasn't too much, was I?" she asked me later.
"No, subtle. Very subtle."
Turns out that it was celeb day at the Admirals Club. Sandra Bullock was checking her e-mail and Alec Baldwin was reading the paper. Even stars had no influence on the stars, which worked on the weather.
Our hopes diminished as we saw "cancelled" filling the monitor and thus were surprised when we heard a call for the Cancun passengers to report to gate 44. When we got there everyone else had boarded and we almost missed the flight. So as we settled into our roomy seats and the flight attendant poured us a glass of free champagne, we toasted, "Who's better than us?" After another long delay waiting to get de-iced, however, the captain announced it was a no go and the flight was cancelled.
We trudged back to the car and my friend decided to go into the city, and I thought it would be best to try to get back here. After three hours of relentless snow and sleet I threw in the towel and slid into a diner on the side of the road, sending out an SOS to my guy with his four-wheel drive truck.
I dialed my friend on the phone. "I am sitting in a diner in Patchogue," I said. "A few hours ago we were lounging in first class with John Legend sipping champagne."
"I just got to Brooklyn after three hours on like five different trains," said my friend. Luckily her boyfriend had met her at the subway station with socks, as she was barefoot in little ballerina slippers.
"Marry him," I instructed her.
When friends asked, "What happened to your trip?" I said, "Boy, it really took me."
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