Coming back to Mexico from Christmas vacation, I had planned to leave at 4 a.m. to catch a flight at 6:10 to Dallas, make my connection there, and be back in Torreón by two o’clock. Then I’d have time to unpack and go to the supermarket and the next day, run errands and go to school for a bit to work in my classroom before returning to class the following day.
But there was a storm system moving through Louisiana that morning, and the airline called at 3:30 to let me know that my flight had been delayed.
Of course, this meant that I would miss my connection to Torreón, and have to wait for the next scheduled flight–at 6:00 p.m.
Which resulted in a seven-hour wait in DFW.
The first thing I did when I got there was to go back to TGI Fridays (in “A” terminal) and get a hamburger and fries. After that I found a comfortable seat at Gate A10 to put my feet up, my sleep mask on and my earphones in and have a little snooze.
I have never been an easy sleeper. Well, not since early adulthood, anyway. I can’t sleep when it’s light outside, can’t sleep sitting up, can’t sleep if I’m cold. But I was able to tune out the TV and the elevator music with my sleep sounds app and rest a bit.
After that, I plugged in the laptop and phone at the charging station and chatted in Skype with my Egyptian friend in Dubai and my language partner in Venezuela.
I decided I’d check the departure gate for the flight to Torreón online and to my surprise, even though it was an American Eagle flight, it was departing from Gate 10 in Terminal D. So I walked toward Terminal D–a long, long walk– and came upon a yoga studio there in the empty hallway.
So I stopped and did a few sun salutations and a few minutes of quiet meditation. (Which is something else I’m not particularly good at; but it was worth the effort, anyway.)
I found Gate 10, and there was a nice cafe there so I sat down and took a few photos and uploaded the ones on the iPhone to the laptop. I looked up and saw one of my coworkers gazing up at the board. I called out to her and she joined me for a glass of wine while we discussed the flight delay woes that had beset us coming and going.
Later, at the gate, we were joined by several other coworkers who were on the same flight home. We moaned a bit more about our day, and then one sweet person reminded us how fortunate we were to be able to travel home for Christmas, when there were, undoubtedly, others all over the world who, for various reasons, had spent the holiday far from home and loved ones.
Yes, it’s annoying having to wait so long. It’s terribly expensive to eat or even drink water in an airport. It’s noisy. There’s no comfortable place to rest unless, maybe, you are a VIP of some variety. But it’s an airport. I like waiting there more than I like waiting on the side of a hot highway with a flat tire. I like it a lot better than waiting in the emergency room of a hospital. I definitely prefer it to waiting for a loved one’s body to be prepared for viewing by the funeral home.
Being stranded, delayed, held over, thwarted, frustrated… what better opportunity to count my blessings? I had nothing else to do.
I could have spent the entire seven hours counting my blessings and still not finished.