the trials of getting home from NYC

I came home last night from NYC. Usually, this is easy – I marvel at the way L.A. and NYC are so interconnected. Nonstop flights, all these personal business ties between the citizens of both cities, constant influxes of people going both ways…it’s amazing. Which is why, on most of the trips I’ve taken back from our Manhattan office, I’ve had no problem getting home.

But there was WEATHER in New York yesterday. I woke up at 2am Monday morning to a lightning storm in Manhattan. I had my glasses off, so I could only see the flash of the lightning, and the crash of the thunder a second or two later. I’m not sure if it was the sound or the light that woke me, because the lightning was that close, and so encompassing of the sky that it took up the entire window of my hotel room. This was followed by a day of rain, mostly of the Instant Downpour variety. The rain yesterday in New York City was the kind it takes an hour for the Pacific Northwest to build up to, and it was sweeping over the boroughs in sheets.

The weather still hadn’t subsided by last night, although it was no longer raining as much. I think that’s why American Airlines canceled all the flights back to L.A. from JFK, two hours before departure. Our in-office travel coordinator re-booked my group (three of us total) on a Virgin America flight. I actually *heart* Virgin America, for their wi-fi on all planes, power outlets, and on-board TV. But no amount of on-board amusement could distract me from being afraid. After the Air France disaster two weeks ago, I’m a little edgy about flying in extreme weather.

Despite my fear though, I still knew the odds of a plane crash were extremely low, and not enough to keep me from getting home to Mr. Ben last night. I didn’t want one more morning without Mommy to go by. I wanted to get home to my baby, dammit. So I checked in, ate pizza for dinner, and waited for my flight until it boarded – an hour late. And then I fell asleep while the plane waited patiently in line to fly out of JFK. Despite cancellations, air traffic was backed up for departures, and the plane didn’t take off until two hours later than scheduled.

It was about half an hour into the flight when the turbulence started. And kept going. And kept going. And this wasn’t a little shaking. It was side to side and up and down and it didn’t stop for half an hour. It wasn’t extreme turbulence to the point where things start flying around the cabin, but it was enough for the flight attendants to have to buckle themselves in. And after thirty minutes, my body couldn’t take it anymore. Thankfully, I was in the very back row, and the turbulence had subsided a bit, because I had to run for a restroom and expel the contents of my stomach quickly. I’ve had an upset stomach for days – a physical consequence of work stress and misery at being separated from Ben – and the turbulence was just too much for it. Especially since I don’t usually eat things like pizza, and it wasn’t sitting right, and let’s just say it was ugly. Add in the plane continuing to shake through the whole process, and it was messy to boot.

We had a few more extended bad patches throughout the flight. I hoped once we got over the Midwest it would calm down, but it didn’t. By then though, I was able to drink a couple glasses of ginger ale, and nibble on the items in a “Food Cube” snack pack, and watch cable TV reality shows on my in-seat TV…and doze off for the last hour and change.

Now, here’s the princess complaint: when we got to LAX, it was two hours later than the flight was originally scheduled for, and the driver who was supposed to pick up my group had gone to bed. I called him, and he was at home, 30 minutes from LAX. I found a taxi quickly enough, so it didn’t make much difference in getting me home before 1am, PST…it was just one last thing in a very long trip.

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