Saturday, August 1, 2009

On The Road Again, Rocky Road

Left today to head out Chicago for a few days, and then jump on a train to head to Indianapolis for the US Open. This trip did not get off to a great start. For the most part I’m not the superstitious type, despite my little rituals at tournaments sometimes. Though I guess I may be a little more superstitious then I care to admit. When I pick seat assignments on a flight, I won’t pick a seat in row 13. For today’s flight I took seat 12B. Maybe I need to start paying attention to flight numbers. I’m on flight 313, and needless to say things did not get off to a smooth start.

Somehow it’s not a good sign when the ramp leading to the airport is closed off, and there’s nothing but cop cars on it. It’s also not a good sign when you come into the airport from another direction and traffic is at a standstill, and there are lots of people standing in the road with their luggage.

Why are all these people standing around?

Some crazy idiot thought it would be funny to bring something that looked like a bomb to the airport today. TSA, PA and NYPD were not amused. At 5:45 am they shut down the main terminal at La Guardia Airport. So unless you were flying Delta or US Air, you were in for a long morning. I got up at 4:15 am, and was on a train into NYC at 5:21. I got on the airport bus at 6:00 am, not knowing that 15 minutes ago they shutdown the joint.

Yesterday I was thinking to myself, "I'm so glad I'm not flying out today. With the bad weather there will be tons of delays. It's supposed to be nice tomorrow." HA!! So what does one do on a beautiful sunny day standing outside a closed airport terminal? For me that's an easy question to answer. Take pictures, chill out, talk to people find out where they’re heading to, and compare “Where I was on 9/11” and crazy travel nightmare stories. I guess we’ll all have a new travel nightmare story to tell after this day.

Queen of the road.
Not what you want to see at the arrivals level.

I met some people from a number of different places. I met a brother and sister from Bozeman, Montana who had just completed summer internships in New York City. They were on their way back home. He would be starting his freshman year in college. His little sister would be entering her senior year in high school. They really enjoyed the experience of being able to do internships in New York. When I was that age we didn’t have those types of opportunities. I was a camp counselor the summer before starting my freshman year in college. These kids will have a good story to tell whenever they get home. I’m sure they missed their connection.

Another person I met was a man from Denver who had been in New York for business. He had a meeting last night so didn’t get to leave until today. Though yesterday the weather sucked, so it probably wasn’t all that easy to get out of town on time. This was not his first time in New York during a scary moment. He had been in New York for meetings at Morgan & Stanley on 9/11/01. Morgan & Stanley had offices in the World Trade Center, but fortunately for him his meeting was at their mid-town office. He said it was a frightening time for his wife because she didn’t know where he was. He wasn’t able to get in touch with her until the afternoon.

A few of us talked about our 9/11 experiences. One woman mentioned about a friend who overslept that day and didn’t make to work on time. He worked in one of the towers. We thought about when things like that happen, it just wasn’t that person’s time to leave this earth.

Lots of people and lots of luggage!
More people!
Those people on the departure level above probably had been in the terminal when they cleared the place. They weren't letting anyone else go up to that area.

There's hope when you see the TSA people going back inside.

I didn't know what to expect when they were going to let us go in. Would there be a crazy stampede of people? To be continued.....


Tommyg said...

Hey Polly,

I got chills and goosebumps reading those stories of the two people who were supposed to have been in the towers on that day but were not for various reasons. They made me rather reflective and pensive on this Sunday morning.

Good luck at the US Open!

Liquid Egg Product said...

Wow. Bringing a fake bomb to an airport. That must be lack of sanity or just...stupidity. Interesting how that type of thing gets people talking that normally wouldn't have.

And speaking of rituals: booking on flight 666 while chanting the proper incantations will invoke, er, a certain type of aid. Which can include improving chess skill.

There is still some debate as to whether the amount of rating boost is worth the price of the soul.

wang said...

Well a 666 rating boost wouldn't even bring me to master...sigh

Yeah I was very happy to not be traveling through LaGuadiaon that day. LGA can be hell on a good travel day.

Polly said...

The guy's "bomb" was pretty real looking according to the news reports. He kept pressing a button as if he was going to detonate it. If I had been that cop who grabbed it and threw it behind a post I would have been crapping in my pants. But that's what these guys train for.