(The following post was actually written last Thursday afternoon from Washington DC, but I wasn't able to upload it then and am only doing so now. Blogger has a feature where you can change the date/time of the posts, but that seems deceptive somehow, and if there is anything this weblog is about it's truth-at-all-times.)
I am at the Washington Reagan airport. It's about 1:50pm; my flight has been delayed until a scheduled time of 2:34. It's raining outside, although I can't really tell how hard it's raining because there is nothing outside the airport windows to lend a good sense of perspective. I'm bored and have just opened up my laptop with the idea that maybe I could write a weblog post as long as I'm here.
My flight is the second to last flight that United is still saying that they are going to fly out today. Everything afterward is cancelled. There is a large group of people standing over at the ticket counter trying to plead their way onto the flight or get hotel reservations or make pointless complaints or whatever it is people do when they are suddenly looking at being stranded some place they don't want to be for two extra days (most people here do not seem confident that they will be flying much out tomorrow).
The woman behind the ticket counter becoming increasingly annoyed in her announcements. "We do have applications here if anyone wants one," she said a few minutes ago, presumably referring to the idea that You Could Come Work For United Yourself If You Think We Are Doing Such A Bad Job. What she wanted earlier was for everyone to be standing in some kind of line instead of standing in a giant creeping clump around the counter. What she wants now is for some of the people that formed a line to go upstairs and use the ticket agents standing their for their rebooking, etc., than continue standing in line.
She has this great melodramatic voice. "If you're patient, it's fine if you want to wait here, but [the agents upstairs] keep calling and asking where everybody is, they've got plenty of people to help you upstairs." She's said something like this a couple of times already. There was a small migration the first time, but I think now she is just giving people the sense that they are suckers somehow if they give up their place in the line at the gate.
Oh, and when she first got mad, she did this short riff on how they were getting reports of swells of five to seven feet and that if the "Potomac out there" had a swell and went over the tarmac, no one was going anywhere. The Potomac is indeed out there, but it's always there and I have no point of reference to know if it is looking particularly feisty today.
There is also a guy at the counter who occasionally makes announcements, but he mutters and is completely unintelligible. I haven't seen anyone react to anything he's said, so I'm presuming that either his announcements are innocuous or extremely important but just as unintelligible to everyone else.
I'm confirmed on the flight and so as long as it leaves I'm presuming I'm going to be on it, unless I get bumped by somebody offering some kind of enormous bribe. I'm reading the fourth Stephanie Plum mystery, Four to Score, which I picked up in the airport bookstore earlier. Perhaps more on this later.
I'm not sure if I should be annoyed with the conference organizers or not for not seeing that there was a high enough probability that the hurricane was going to interfere with the conference to cancel it earlier than the night before. I probably shouldn't be annoyed, and this is probably just my propensity to complain typing. Give me a keyboard and I become such a whiner! Okay, that's not entirely true, as I have shown a remarkable capacity to whine across a variety of output devices, most notably my mouth.
(This is where I closed my laptop. I ended up getting on the flight, getting a timely connection to Madison, and arriving safely.)