A pilot friend of mine said that lots of people wish "have a good flight" when what you really should wish for is "happy landings!"
That might make a good theme for our year, Happy Landings.
Did Steve Jobs or someone else say, "It's not the destination that's important, it's the journey." Profound, but I always liked getting to a destination of some kind; a way station would be fine, and maybe all our stops are only way stations.
I've only missed a few flights in my life mainly because I'm so paranoid when I travel I feel "safer" getting to the airport at least a week ahead. I'm like a cat in a departure lounge. I can stare at the wall for hours at a time.
My moment of weakness came in 1986, I think, on a business trip to New York. I was traveling with a branch manager and I was a peon so I just followed him around like a poodle. On the flight back we connected in Chicago and things were stacked up and delayed. We had about 90 minutes to kill and I was happy, cat-like, to sit there at K-100 or wherever and wait for the "equipment" to arrive. Boss Man, though, had other ideas and he relished a shrimp platter he had at O'Hare a zillion years ago in another dimension but, gosh darn it, he was going to get that shrimp platter! We, of course, had to go with him. The bar was at the hub about a million miles from our gate. Off we went.
We got to the bar a few weeks later, found a booth, settled in, ordered beers and the Best Shrimp Platter in the Universe. I looked around for a departures monitor, found it and made regular trips to check the status of our flight. "Delayed" it said time and time again. Boss Man tried to empower me by saying something like, "You shouldn't be such an amateur traveler. They'll announce our flight and we'll have plenty of time to get to the gate."
Famous last words.
The Best Shrimp Platter in the History of the Universe was delayed and delayed and delayed and finally it came. It consisted of about 6 pathetic, thawed out embarrassed shrimp hanging on a cup of thin Chicago-style ketchup and soy sauce and I felt very sorry for the shrimp to be in that condition and position. Sadly, I got up to check the monitor like an amateur traveler.
"Final boarding." Flashing. Red.
I rushed back to the table and told them the deal-y-oh and that we had to get into our Speed-y-ohs and swim like horny salmon on the last day of mating season back to K-1000000 or we would have to live in the Terminal until we were terminal! There was shock - what? Denial - they didn't announcement. Acceptance - holy shamoly we have to beat cheeks or we'll miss our flight.
Well, to make a long, swift and sweaty story short, we missed the flight. We got to the gate just as the plane was pulling away from the gate and the gate attendant only shrugged and said, "Y'all shoulda been here staring at the wall like a cat if you wanted to get home this year." And that was that.
And, no, we never got home. I'm typing this from a chair at gate K-10000000000 at O'Hare where I've been for the past 25 years. Probably could have walked home in that time but, you know, the Shrimp Platter is pretty good here ...