I’ve been at plenty of outdoors sporting events with awful weather. Among some of these have been games that there was no delay, since most of the sports other than baseball/softball play on in any type of weather.
On Wednesday, I had my job interview with UW-Parkside. But it was quite a misadventure to get there on Tuesday.
In some sense, the misadventure from Tuesday paralleled my “Worst Day in Undergraduate Years” with a few of the following parallels:
- Lost item(s)
- Flying “solo”
- Transportation problems
So, here is my story. The present tense, when used, refers to my thoughts at the time.
Trains that are powered electrically can be powered in one of a few different ways. They may receive power from overhead lines, or they can be powered from an electrified rail on the tracks. The latter is also known as the third rail. It is 600 volts of deadliness for a person who steps on it unprotected.
For that reason, the “third rail” is often used as an expression for a dangerous topic of conversation or debate. As it turns out, there is a topic of conversation which is a third rail to me!
Last night, I flew back to Chicago from Omaha. The trip included a part which significantly scared me, but I am all right now. Let me recount the story.
The pun of the day is based off the airport code that I departed from today: O’Hare International Airport (ORD). As it turns out, today was the eighth time in my life that I had been there. And almost all of them have been eventful or salient.
First, some music:
Experience Number One. Starting with October 7, 2004. Dad and I were flying from Omaha to Boston in order to visit MIT and Harvard. But, it was a day of debacle. My journal describes it:
I woke up at 5:30 and got dressed. Then we left at 5:50 for Eppley. Unfortunately, disaster struck. I looked on the “DEPARTURES” board and did not see our flight. When we got to check-in, we found that the flight had been RE-SCHEDULED for EARLIER [at 6:20. The change was made a week after the reservations were made, and Mom printed out the ticket from the original e-mail instead of the website]. We got STANDBY ticket[s] for the next flight. Of course, Dad was fuming.
We managed to get the next flight to O’Hare, and somehow managed to standby our way to getting to Boston that same evening. Dad’s infamous line, “I don’t travel well” came in an apologetic tone after the anger had subsided.
Experience Number Two. That quick weekend ended with us getting A LOT accomplished on the 8th, and then having a nice brunch with Cousin Margot on the 9th. We had no difficulties with flights this time, as we made positive that we would not run into another debacle. The worst part of the evening was instead dinner: it reinforced my disdain for heavy cheese (it was Uno Pizzeria at O’Hare). Also, the Husker football team was down 3-21 in Lubbock at halftime. Later on the flight, with about 9 minutes remaining in the game, the captain said, “We have an update on the Nebraska game. Texas Tech 56, Nebraska 10, 9 minutes left.” A disgusted groan emanated throughout the plane!
Experience Number Three. Oddly enough, the next time I went to O’Hare was with the whole family, on July 28, 2007. It was a connecting flight to Boston, again! This time as a full family vacation. There were no travel troubles, but it was fun in the terminal at O’Hare, getting to go through the Psychedelic Tunnel connecting a couple concourses. I had a Cinnabon for breakfast, and it was nice just being around. That was the prelude to a great vacation!
Experience Number Four. The return leg of that trip, on August 4, involved a layover of more than two hours in O’Hare. After a failure to agree on somewhere to eat in the airport, we all got our own items. I shared popcorn with Mom, and in some sense, this may have been a precursor to my tradition to getting Nuts on Clark whenever I go to Midway or Union Station.
Experience Number Five. The first time that a trip has involved O’Hare only going one way for me. This was January 8, 2009. At the beginning of the trip, I had flown on Northwest Airlines, from Lincoln to Minneapolis, and then from Minneapolis to Reagan in DC. It was for the Joint Mathematical Meetings, and I did a poster presentation on my REU research during said conference.
In returning to Lincoln, I got to DCA and saw that my flight to Minneapolis was delayed, in such a way that I would miss my connection. I don’t know how this worked, but I managed to transfer my reservation to United Airlines, fly through Chicago instead of Minneapolis, and arrive in Lincoln just two hours after I was originally scheduled. Obviously, I was selected for a full patdown, but I didn’t mind. However, I had another near-debacle after getting to Lincoln–I left my journal on the airplane, and managed to get it back from the Lincoln airport the next day!
Experience Number Six. It was March 17, 2009, the day after I had done my campus visit to Northwestern. This was the first time that O’Hare was the ORIGIN of my flight, rather than a connecting flight. There were no problems with traveling, and this time, I wrote in my journal that, indeed, Nuts on Clark was the food that I got. A tradition begins in earnest here!
Experiences Number Seven. This was the starting at O’Hare en route to New York en route to Israel. It was a day fraught with emotion–unbridled excitement of visiting Israel. For once, I did NOT include Nuts on Clark as part of the food, since I was with others. Indeed, this was my first time traveling through the air with non-family companions.
Experience Number Eight. That’s today! There were no travel debacles, no crashed trains (then again, I didn’t get there at 02:00 :p) There was a slight delay that I was okay with, because I intentionally planned my travel so as to avoid any debacles with delays or cancellations. But I don’t have the Casey Curse!
I love when the theme of Eight can fit right in with my daily activity. Now, the fun weekend of Molly’s wedding begins!
Today is the two-hundred and eighty-third day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes forty weeks and three days.
Today is the eighty-eighth day of the Character Building Trial. That makes twelve weeks and four days.
Today is the tenth day of the third round of O.C.T.O.B.E.R. That makes one week and three days.