Delays can yield so much

Well, it's been a week since I've gotten back from MI, but with all the moving hoopla, I'm just getting around to writing this up.  So here's the story:

Last Wednesday was probably the worst air travel day I've had in a while.  However, I never knew how interesting a day of delays in airports could be.  There's a whole world of people with interesting stories roaming our airports.  Next time you're stuck on the ground, you should try to make conversation with someone, you learn the most interesting things.

Alright, so the breakdown: I got up at 3 a.m. (EST) to get to my flight from Detroit to Houston at 6 a.m.  We got on board when the pilot came on and said the fuel indicator for the center fuel tank was broken.  Oops, that's not good.  Fortunately, all they needed to do was empty the tank, fill it and watch the truck's gauge so that they'd have an accurate measurement.  Ten minutes.  We got off the plane, and me being half-awake and naive, I bought it.  Two and a half hours later, the fuel truck still hadn't arrived, and Continental (somehow) shoved us all onto their next flight to Houston.  There went my flight to San Jose.

I arrived in muggy Houston with another 6 hours until my flight to San Jose at 5:55 p.m. (CST).  I had been hoping to get into work at noon and start right back into it, but there went that.  Instead of freaking out, as I normally would, I just found a place for a sandwich, turned on my laptop, and did work through the VPN while watching the World Cup. (Sorry guys for rerouting the video through San Jose!)  It was quite relaxing, sitting in an empty section of the huge terminal, typing away.  In the end, I somehow managed 5 1/2 hours of work, which I must say was quite a feat.  Eventually, the area around me filled up with people.  All of a sudden, a voice over the speaker came on in the gate area, "We will now begin pre-boarding for Detroit."  I looked up, surprised to see that I had sat down right at the gate for Detroit.  It felt like a message, like maybe I should head home.  It might've been a good idea.  People gave me strange looks, wondering why the guy in the Detroit Tigers shirt wasn't getting on the plane.

In the end, I moved to my gate, which had now changed to the opposite side of this cross-shaped terminal.  Gate changes up to this point: 2.  As I sat working away, the skies outside grew dark and it began to pour.  I wouldn't have noticed if it weren't for the clap of thunder that knocked me out of my work trance.  Ah, so nice to see rain again.  It took me a moment later to realize the problem: there's no way they'll land in this.  Gate change...gate change, running up and down the terminal.  Finally, the flight got delayed by an hour.  Apparently the flight from Portland that we were waiting for diverted to Dallas and then to San Antonio because of the weather.

Delay...gate change...gate change...gate change.  It was ridiculous; by this point, I was basically laughing.  Slowly, I realized who was on my plane, since the group would migrate from place to place.  While running from gate to gate, I met an 18 year old girl who was just starting college.  She was in an awful mood; apparently she was flying standby on this flight and never really had traveled alone like this before.  I kinda calmed her down and talked to her about college and stuff.  She had quite a story, moving 17 times in the last 18 years.  Her accent was cool; it was a combination of Florida, California, and Texas, all of which she had lived in at one point.  Finally, we settled down at our 6th and final gate for our flight at 9:30 p.m. (CST)

The flight was now in the air.  Whew.  As for the girl, she got on to the earlier San Jose flight (which in the end landed 1 minute before our flight haha).  In the meantime, the man across from me figured out that I was into computers (dunno what I mentioned to the girl about tech stuff)  As it turns out, he was the previous CTO of Grand Central (now Google Voice).  It was really cool hearing his whole story, especially his description of Google's network and the problem it has with VoIP.  He had retired a few months back, but now was in talks with Apple to work on some sort of data network, possibly for iTunes streaming.  His interview was the next day, but he said if their offer didn't interest them, he'd be starting his own company.  I told him to sign me up if he ever did and needed someone like me!  Luckily, I had a business card, so we exchanged information.  You never know what will happen.

In the end, our flight took off at 9:30 p.m. (CST) and got to SJ around midnight.  Unfortunately, my shuttle ride back had already left, but the guy I had met had a car and was heading for Cupertino, which was right on the way to my place.  He dropped me off after picking up his bag, and I passed out around 2 a.m. (PST).

In the end, I had been up over 24 hours, but I had met some interesting people, and I'm glad that I got to have my mini airport adventure.  Next time I get delayed, I'll actually look forward to it, since you never know who you will meet :-)

That's it for now, I owe you news on my move and new place, keep in touch, I'll see what I can do.



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