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Ireland Day 1 1/2: Not Quite There Yet

Posted by jana on August 19, 2004

My trip to Ireland did not begin well. About half an hour after my dad and I left for the airport I got an alert on my cell phone that my flight was delayed by about two and a half hours. I didn't want my dad to have to tack an hour onto his driving time by taking me back home, so I said that I didn't mind sticking it out in the airport. I got all checked in and such about four hours early. Killed some time by calling Eric (I love having a cell phone for cases such as that) and read The Valley of Horses, sequel to Clan of the Cave Bear which I read just before leaving, the rest of the time.

The flight to Newark was pretty uneventful. The movie was Starsky and Hutch, but I'd already seen it, so even though the airline gave everybody complimentary headphones as a compensation for the delay, I chose to doze on and off for the four hour flight instead of trying to watch it.

I ended up being saddled with my big fat suitcase in Newark, and I was also exceeding tired and cranky, so I didn't try to go anywhere during my massive layover. Sitting around an airport isn't an idea way to spend a day, but after I freshened up a bit and wrote away most of my crabbiness in my journal it wasn't so bad. I read my book and an entire issue of Entertainment Weekly. I talked to my friend Susan, and to Eric. I won't say I enjoyed the day, but it could have been worse. It was only when it approached my scheduled flight time that things got bad.

I read a story for a Spanish class once in which this guy is stuck in an airport with a group of people waiting for a connecting flight. They keep getting shuffled around from gate to gate, and yet they never get to board their plane. It turns out that the whole group of them had already died in a plane crash, and it had gotten them stuck in this airport limbo. Scary fucking story.

From my journal, written an hour and a half after the plane was scheduled to leave:

I am becoming more and more convinced that I am that guy in the Spanish story. I am never going to leave this airport. It started with a delay because the flight was overbooked. They wanted volunteers to take a different flight and arrive in Dublin several hours later. I would have left by now and had $500 towards a Continental flight if I had taken it, but I didn't want to spend any more time in this airport. Ha. Then there was a maintenance problem. It was OK, though, we should leave by 9:20 (original departure time was 8:20). They they needed to hear from the mechanic. Then we were going to leave at 10. Then we needed a new plane, but they'd know in 45 minutes when we'd be able to leave. Then they had a plane - we'd have to move to a different gate, but we'd start boarding soon. Then the plane wasn't ready, but we'd board at 10:30. That's where it stands now, I guess. It's official. I'm already dead, and this is airport hell.

That might give some indication of what my state of mind was at that point. Keep in mind that by then I had been either in an airport or on a plane for a solid 24 hours, and I still had an ocean to cross. I was not happy. I think we actually did board close to 10:30 and probably took off around 11. I was slightly placated by the fact that this plane had those nifty personal TV screens with choices of movies to watch. This meant that I got to watch Mean Girls, one of those kinds of movies that I totally want to see but am kind of embarrassed about and don't actually want to spend any money on. I don't think I had much to be embarrassed about. I quite liked the movie, and practically everyone around me was watching it too, including the hulking, laconic guy sitting next to me. For the rest of the flight I pretty much just slept.

I want to have these entries sorted by days, so I'll stop here and go on to a new post.