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August 13, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 15: Grounded in Philly


We were so close. We caught our flight from Dublin to Philly. Somehow, we survived a seven hour flight across the Atlantic and landed safely in Philly. We cleared Immigration and Customs and got a pass that would get us through security and down to Terminal D, Gate D13. We even stopped in an my old stomping grounds out on Terminal C across from Gate C24 to get Philly Cheesesteaks and Cheese Fries.

We got down to Gate D13 an hour and a half before the plane was scheduled to depart, fully prepared to land in Denver at 6:58 p.m. And then the wheels came off. Then things fell apart. The gate said our flight was “CANCELED?.

I begged a ride on one of those little golf carts from a man idleing in one nearby.

“We just flew in from Europe. They’ve canceled our flight and she’s exhausted. Can you give us a ride??

“Sure. Hop on.?

And he whisked us out through security and down to an uncertain fate at the hands of the merciless United Airlines gate agents. Not only had they canceled our flight, but they weren’t inclined to help us in any way shape or form. It was brutal.

We just wanted to get to Denver, but they didn’t care. They laughed at us. Finally, we just gave up and decided to accept their offer. A shuttle to a hotel in a different state, 45 minutes away so they could save money, two meal vouchers for $15, and a flight into Denver through Chicago the following morning.

As for our suitcases, it was anybody’s guess. The didn’t have them, weren’t sure where they were, or if or when we’d ever be re-united with them again. I never check luggage for this reason, but on the return trip, it seemed that even if they lost them, we’d be in Denver and it wouldn’t matter so much. Bad assumption.

“We were so close.? Jennifer commiserated.

“Yeah. Sorry about that baby. Sometimes things fall apart like that. It sucks, but there’s nothing we can do.?

They drove us to a little hastily renovated dump somewhere in New Jersey. We shared the shuttle with a bunch of other exhausted people displaced by the same canceled flight.

“I’m going to miss work tomorrow.? One of them complained.

“Me too. I guess I’ll have to take another day of vacation.? One lamented.

“What about you?? they asked me.

“Oh. I don’t work.? I suggested.

They all stared at me like I had ten heads.

“I’m taking some time off.?

We checked into the hotel, and Jennifer and I went into the room to get cleaned up as best we could, with nothing but the clothes on our back.

“Look, daddy. There’s an alarm clock and it says 5:49.?

“That’s because it’s 5:49, baby.?

“Oh. Right.?

Like, we were just annihilated from the trip. Nothing really made sense. We have no concept of time any more.

Then, we started charging all of our electronic gadgets and jokingly comparing notes about the hotel room.

“Daddy, look, the wall outlets are all 110 volts!?

“Jennifer….Look at this…you can turn on the bathroom light from INSIDE the bathroom. Isn’t that amazing??

“Look daddy! Look how big the trash can is. It’s larger than a box of Kleenex!?

“Hey, look, they don’t have separate faucets for Hot and Cold water!?

“Oh my God! There’s two queen sized beds in one room! This would be like the largest hotel room in Europe!?

And, we went back and forth like this for some time.

As we right this, I have no clue where I am. Somewhere in New Jersey. I don’t care really. Just want to get back to Colorado.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 13, 2007 at 4:43 PM


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