As the old song goes, there are a few things to watch out for in the world, like first, don’t fool with Superman’s cape. One shouldn’t also spit into the wind and of course don’t mess around with Jim. Oh and I will add one point, don’t believe anything told to you by the airlines, ever. Ten minutes will seem a lot like an hour and an hour, well good luck on that one. It might seem like an eternity, but then again it could be an eternity.
Flying back from St Martin today, and looking out the window and seeing Waukesha, Wisconsin go by three times from three different directions, I wasn’t too shocked to hear the pilot finally concede that we would have to divert to Milwaukee Wisconsin for fuel (we were heading to Minneapolis). I’ve flown into lots and lots of different airports over the years but this is only the third time I’ve landed in the largest city of Wisconsin and the first time in seventeen years.
The first time I flew into Milwaukee was on the return leg of a crazy trip including three days of flying home from Zurich when I was a kid. The stops seemed like something from the 1930s. Eight hour delays in Zurich, unscheduled fuel stops in Gander, Newfoundland. We even had an emergency landing in JFK and then abandonment in a closed terminal. We finally got a flight to Detroit after a second airplane could be found in the ‘very’ nearby location of, yes, Phoenix….? WTF is right? Everyone shuttled to some hotel across town in Detroit before having to go right back for the final legs home, nothing like two hours in a bus to get an hour of sleep. This final leg included a stop in Milwaukee.
I don’t remember much from that trip to the beer capital after half crashing in New York, and nearly starving in the terminal, well terminals. I do strangely remember eating an ice cream cone in Gander Newfoundland. You know you were hungry when a soft-serve ice cream cone, bought by you with a Canadian five dollar bill you had kept as a book mark thirty years ago is a dominant memory of a vacation. I can see the face of the man selling it to me and that the ice cream stand with a blue umbrella. It was vanilla by the way and the cone was a bit chewy, but I digress. Last year, I had a seven airport trip to Sweden which was mostly, but not totally planned. It would be hard to again beat this dreaded ten airport trip and I still wonder why the plane was even near New York in the first place as the trip from Gander to Detroit seems to be about three states north of there. Again, nobody from the airline said anything….
My pilot says another five or ten minutes, and expecting no delays…who am I to argue.
My second trip to Milwaukee was more mission oriented and planned. I feigned illness while a resident to interview for a second residency in Appleton, Wisconsin. It was a job I never took and I spent the night at my old roommate’s house from college and ate the biggest meatball I’d ever seen. When I originally ordered two, the waitress and the person in the next table stared at me so I retracted my order back to one. It was somewhere between the size of a baseball and a softball but after seventeen years I might not be remembering it correctly, just say it was big. The restaurant in an ethnic neighborhood on the north side remains unknown but when I think of meatballs I can think of no better memories. If I had to list the fifty most impressive things I’ve seen or done in my life, that meatball is on the list and maybe even that cone in Gander..
Well we left Milwaukee and we just flew over Waukesha again this time heading north west but the plane is now turning due north trying to confuse my sense of Wisconsin geography. That looks like Stevens Point down there, where are we going now?
I guess I wouldn’t be so irritated about a delay except that we had planned on being home three hours earlier than normal from St Martin, this trip. Alas now we will be arriving at midnight, again and getting home at three fifteen in the morning…we always get home at 0315. To make the earlier flight we had to move our way through customs in Charlotte and of course we couldn’t check any luggage which we never do. Everything in North Carolina worked like a charm, well everything always seems to even out…thanks to the airlines.
Oops the pilot is back on the air, now we are changing our routing just ‘a bit’ and going north of Minneapolis, ha! they thought they had fooled me, I see Park Falls below, still flying north.
There is not much one can do when things happen to you in an airplane. If you let them get to you they have won. I am also never one to fight a plane flight change or cancelation. Obviously bad things would have happened to us if we had been there before nine. We are still flying north, and that is beginning to concern me as I look out the window the lights are thinning and I assume the northern forest beckons me below are those the lights of Ashland on Lake Superior? I feel like we are flying into a Twilight Zone saga, oh well at least those only lasted thirty minutes, right? I’d love to land in thirty minutes…please anybody?
What is time? Is time on an airplane different than regular time? Do airport people believe what they say, do they beleive what they say? Are we ever going to land? The pilot just now says thirty minutes. I think that is the third time he has said that…
All these are rhetorical or metaphysical questions and if you are reading this post, I would have had to have finally landed in Minneapolis as this flight doesn’t have internet connections, but then again maybe not, I could just be the “Up in the Air” guy and could be living up here, somewhere….maybe I can meet up with Jim Croce up here somewhere still singing….don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and Don’t mess around with Jim! Jim I won’t mess around with you, just get us down to earth.
Keep looking up…my friends