Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Traveled but Unraveled

I think I need the official restoration of the Catholic Church's veneration of St. Christopher.

Especially as patron saint of travelers.

St. Christopher's feast day was apparently rescinded -- as far as my 10 minutes' research has been able to find -- because there was some question about his martyrdom. 

 Regardless, I may be investing in a St. Christopher medal, especially given my travel schedule lately.

I've been away from business travel for the past 10 years or so. Earlier in my career, I did a fair amount of it, zipping to Washington D.C. or New York when I was handling communications related to the banking industry. (D.C. for the regulatory front; NY for the money-center front.)

Now that I'm in travel and tourism, I'm on the road a little more.

Business travel hasn't changed all that much. Post-9/11 security measures make things a little more inconvenient, but I'm okay with the trade-off of slipping out of my shoes in exchange for the assurance that nobody's packing napalm in their Nunn Bushes.

My luck with travel started getting sketchy when I flew to Detroit to bring Parker home from his Michigan breeder. It was supposed to be a quick in-and-out trip; I wasn't even going to leave the airport, with the breeder bringing the eight-week-old guy to me, handing him off, and enabling me to zip right back home.

Didn't work out that way.

The transfer went fine. I had borrowed a carry-bag to enable Parker to ride in the cabin with me, rather than in the luggage compartment, something I was insistent on.

But then the flight got delayed. A lot. And I spent about five hours in the Detroit airport with a little puppy.

We played. He napped. And his bathroom needs were met with inventiveness and creativity (luckily, we only had to deal with the liquid end), thanks to some potty-pads I had brought for the lining of the borrowed bag.

And luckier still, I had brought some kibble and some dog cookies for good measure.

We were told the delay was attributable to the flight crew, who couldn't quite be found. The aircraft was right outside the window, but there was nobody to drive!

The real kicker came when said crew arrived (hey, Mr. Co-Pilot, what'd you do, oversleep?), and we finally got on the plane. And then weather in Philadelphia delayed us on the tarmac.

So then Parker became that whining baby on a plane, except instead of caterwauling, he barked and whimpered along the way. Thank you, fellow passengers, for your patience as we sat there an additional two hours waiting to take off.

Eileen texted me mid-wait: "How are you? How is Parker?"

I responded: "Parker is fine; I'm fraying at the edges!"

Thankfully, we made it home. Once I got him off the plane, I rushed Parker to the first available patch of green grass that Philadelphia International Airport had to offer.

He was very glad to see it.

This past May, I was sent to Memphis for a business conference.

I was originally supposed to fly through Atlanta, but at the last minute, my flight was re-routed through Detroit.

Ummm, yeah.

And so it was no surprise when, two years later and on a different carrier, I was again delayed.

Because the flight crew wasn't there.

Okay, so last week I was sent to Washington D.C. No planes this time! I was Amtrak-ing it.

Ride down: No problem.

Ride home: Delayed. First we were set back an hour because our passenger train had gotten stuck behind a slow-moving freight train. Then the delay stretched to 90 minutes.

Finally boarded. Whew.

And there was one more setback along the way when an exiting passenger couldn't find her bag.

St. Christopher! Where are you when I need you?

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