I’m supposed to be in Zurich…
I would have arrived at 1am our time, taken a coma/nap and been back among the living for some hours now, thinking about dinner. Maybe I’d be at the grocery store across the street from our hotel, maybe I’d be sitting in the sun in the square behind it where there’s a market on Saturday mornings and a giant chessboard painted on the ground. Sometimes I like to watch the neighborhood’s old men gathered by the knee-high pieces, smoking and chatting while they try to trap each other’s queens. Yes, maybe that’s what I’d be doing; it was supposed to be nice today.
But I’m not there. I’m here at home, feeling guilty and poor because yesterday I missed my flight. I’m pretty particular about getting to places exactly on time, and now you know why. Because in my line of work, if you’re not there on time, you’re not there at all. Work leaves without you.
I don’t know what was going on. I left my house 5 hours prior to sign-in, as usual. I showed up for the 1am flight on another airline only to discover that on Saturdays – it doesn’t exist. Well, no sweat, I have many back-up flights. I try my company’s 1:30 – delayed an hour. I go back to the 1st company’s 2pm. I’m very relaxed (aside from the fact I’ve now gone in and out of security three times). Those company’s flights are never ever full, excepting for weather of course. And it was a plain old sleepy Saturday full of clear skies and sun. No drama expected. But the flight was full. I did not get on for the first time ever! I’m in shock but I go back and try that delayed 1:30 – full. Our 2:30 – full! Now I’m really sweating. That’s pretty much it.
You know that period of time where something bad happens and you keep thinking, Don’t panic. There’s gotta be some way out of this. There’s always a way out. This won’t really happen…? It’s because of that feeling that instead of calling work to say I wouldn’t be there and salvaging the day by visiting the Cherry Blossom Festival, I sat at the airport for another 1 1/2 hours in a desperate try for the other company’s 4:00 or our 4:10 – even though each would probably get me there 10 minutes after my departure anyway – and were oversold. Still, I waited and tried. No luck.
What was going on this plain old sunny sky Saturday? I have no freaking clue. There were a couple of other ladies who would also miss their work flight, except all they had to do was call NYC and have the manager make an announcement that their flight had become available. There are so many F/As desperate for hours to work that someone would take the shift and the DC ladies could just go home, only out some pay. But me? Well I am a French speaker. It doesn’t matter that the company probably called a non-speaker and sent him or her to Zurich in my place. They won’t let me give the trip to a non-speaker even though I’m in a bind. So because I offer the company an extra service, I’m the only one of all those missing work that’s in trouble. I get a penalty on my permanent record. (And a point towards being in serious trouble, combined with the sick calls I’ve made since returning in June because – hello! – I just had cancer and this job takes some physical adjustment yet I don’t qualify for excused absences until I’ve been back a year. It makes no sense, but that’s how it works.) Gah!
I did however go to a birthday party with my honey and, though I wasn’t in the mood, the host poured me glass after glass of champagne until I felt better. Still, I wonder who’s winning at chess.