Here is a brief recreation of the highlights of the last 24 hours of my life:
2:00pm EST: We leave for Washington National.
3:30pm EST: I arrive at my gate in plenty of time despite the confluence of road construction and a bad accident on 95. "So far so good," is what I am thinking.
4:15pm EST: The flight leaves for Pittsburgh.
5:30pm EST: I arrive at my gate in Pittsburgh.
5:35pm EST: They close Pittsburgh airport.
5:45, 6:00, 6:15, 6:30: We receive "weather updates." [Note that Pittsburgh is the best place to be delayed as they have free wireless and a complete mall attached to the airport. However, as we are never given more than a 15-minute margin, the leash is too short to do anything but actively wait. I spend most of this time amusing myself by listening to the cluster of young IT guys, who must be on their way to a conference, discuss hardware in the way that other male population groups steal glances at each other in the locker room.]
7:00pm EST: The plane boards
7:00pm to 9:30pm EST: I sit in a stationary plane. Time loses meaning. The only forward progress is the actual rotation of the earth itself. The following events happen in some order during this time period:
The US Air people tell us that because of the thunderstorm, the ground crew was unable to work, so we are waiting for them to unload the luggage from the previous flight and load our luggage. This will take approximately a half hour.
I meet Cedric, the charming five-year-old sitting next to me.
The US Air people tell us that they had to remove some broken seats on the flight and now they are waiting for the person with the log book to return so the repair can get logged.
Cedric and I agree that we hate the US Air people.
We are informed that there is something wrong with the communication system and the technician is on the way.
Cedric tells me his transformer robot is going to suck my blood. I put up no resistance.
The technician is perplexed about how to fix the communication system in a fully boarded plane.
Cedric staves off thunderous boredom by converting the pillowcase into a chapeau.
We lose power and everything becomes pitch black for a moment. The techno-geek behind me explains, "They're rebooting the plane."
The technician realizes he can fix things, but he needs to wait for "a special wrench."
I lose the will to live.
9:30pm EST: The plane begins taxi-ing. We break into applause.
9:45pm: They pass out free headsets to reward us.
10:00pm: They attempt to screen Hitch, but the sound doesn't work.
10:30pm or so: The flight attendant reaches our row with the food cart and explains that they have run out of all food except beef jerky and a Kit Kat bar. I resist the urge to tell her not to worry; I have already chewed my arm off in frustration.
1:45am PST: Finally, I make it home. Nic the cat is at once hysterically joyful to see me and furious that I have been gone. He wakes me at fifteen minute intervals throughout the night, once by biting my shoulder.
8-something am PST: I surrender to the suspicion I have been staving off all night--that a cosmic plot is afoot--when I am awakened by an earthquake.
So now it is 1:00pm. I am still in my pajamas. I had tentative plans for tonight, but I'm thinking I may cancel them. Pulling up the drawbridge is feeling like a really good option for the rest of the day.
UPDATE: As of Monday afternoon, Cedric's mom still has not received her luggage. True story.