In a conversation recently the question of what it would take for me to lose my cool, and get really upset came up. And I had a hard time imagining such a situation. I definitely prefer a life where I don’t get angry or frustrated with things, especially things outside of my control.
Say like the one hour delay today that pushed off my holiday travel plans by oh, 27 hours. Even that I had to laugh at, like I’d put myself in a place where my own life is simply a humorous game that I’m watching from the outside. It helps that I often think of these episodes in terms of how I’d blog about them later. I was acting like a disappointed sports fan as people strolled up to the gate for the flight I was standing by on tonight as if they didn’t have a CARE in the world. One less possible seat for me. And I cheered when people went up to the desk and hemmed and hawed with the agent about whether to take the FIVE HUNDRED DOLLAR flight voucher. All the lovely passengers around me—with confirmed seats—were really pulling for me.
It didn’t even bother me that I’d have to go stay in a hotel and that the flight I’m confirmed on for tomorrow leaves at 7:20pm at night, getting in Austin around 10:30pm (hence the 27 hours after I expected to be there). I’ve done this before. There are certain things in life outside of my control, and that doesn’t bother me. I felt worse for the poor customer service guy who was hooking me up with a hotel voucher. Not only did he sound like he was about to hack up a lung (yeah, if I don’t get sick after all this, I’ll be surprised) but his hands were shaking the whole time. I asked if I could get him anything to eat or drink. He smiled and said no. He managed to get his manager to get me a $10 food voucher. Even that I laughed at, as I made a mental note to complain to America West customer service at a later date.
BUT. I eventually found the limit of my tolerance, when I went down to baggage claim and called the Hilton Phoenix Airport to request a shuttle pick up. It rang, and then said all operators were busy, and then played the most annoying advertorial muzak in the world, for TWENTY FUCKING MINUTES!!! WITH NO FUCKING ANSWER!!!
So I guess what makes me angry is being trapped and feeling helpless. Which is probably true for everyone. So I called one of the other Airport Hiltons, immediately got through, asked them to whip their sister hotel into shape, but then also, in a stroke of brilliance, asked if they would take my hotel voucher. They said yes. Hallelujah.
You also have to realize, while I’d been waiting on hold, a group of 3 or 4 people with German accents and hotel vouchers got on the phone for the same hotel, as did another group of three folks. So I played leader, told them I’d gotten through to this other hotel, that this other hotel would take our vouchers, and that in order to get to the hotel we had to follow these specific instructions:
- Exit through door number 3
- Go to the middle island
- Stand by the blue diamond
- Get in the Holiday Inn shuttle, and they’d bring us to the Hilton Garden Inn
Ok, WTF? Am I in Alice in Wonderland? Imagine me trying to explain that to four Germans and three folks around my age and have them not think I’m totally bonkers. But you know what? It worked. Everyone came along. I’m laying on a bed in a suite with a kitchenette. There’s FREE wireless internet. There’s a bar downstairs with Fat Tire Amber Ale on tap. So I’m going downstairs to hang with my fellow stranded travelers and drink a pint or two. I wish you could join me.