well, certainly the first thing you should do is cry. crying is a very helpful way to silently be embarrassed in front of a line full of strangers in an airport, all of whom are, for some unknowable reason, trying to get to seattle before noon tomorrow. what's happening in seattle? does anybody know? i don't know, because i was too busy trying to be nonchalant about wiping my tears away while talking to a united airlines gate attendant about please being allowed to get on an airplane please.
the second thing you should do is go sit by carousel 2 and wait for your luggage to arrive, still crying. it will take at least 15 minutes, for reasons nobody will explain to you. during this interval i recommend you call, perhaps, your grandfather, and explain to him that you will not be seeing him today. you should be VERY dramatic about this, so that it really leaves a lot of room for him to be completely zen, in that way that 91-year-olds always are, because they have seen a lot of shit. your grandfather was born in, like, 1928. he immigrated here from cuba at like 11 after a kidnapping threat. you think a few grounded flights faze this man? you think he's going to say anything about you waiting for your luggage other than, “well, isn't that the way sometimes, mollydear,” like a some kind of zenned-out buddhist monk?
make an uber drive you to a whole different state. feel a little bad about this, but not TOO bad, because it's not your fault that YOUR state doesn't have a bigger airport. use this opportunity to admire your uber driver's hair, which makes her look like a fairy princess, and peer pressure her into going back to engineering school to be an inventor like she wants to be. are you KIDDING? a FAIRY PRINCESS INVENTOR? come on. come on!!! you achieving your dreams is like, an objective public good. when she says things like, “but i don't know, like, physics,” do NOT let her know that you, also, do not know physics. just wave your hand blithely and say, “of course you know physics, you just don't know that you know physics,” as if this sentence has any real meaning at all.
when you arrive back at your parents' house, lie down immediately on the floor and let your corgis hurl their tiny, stupid bodies onto yours. be content to be ignored by both your cats. let your stepfather make you a drink and tell you, in detail, about his plan to spread one mcdonalds breakfast meal across 3 states tomorrow morning. be really condescending about it until you realize that his plan is actually genius and you're an idiot for never thinking to do this in car rides.
have your rebooked flight cancelled. cry some more. get put on hold with united for, without exaggeration, one (1) hour. try to write a newsletter for work and make yourself stop because everything you write is coming out mean. write an email to your boss instead that says, “i know i said i would do this today but if i do this today everyone who is subscribed to this newsletter will unsubscribe from it,” and put your email away. when the united customer service agent picks up, say, “i am begging you to let me get on an airplane,” instead of what you meant to say, which was something more grown up, like, “hello, i need to rebook a ticket.”
rebook your ticket while chugging a VERY heavy pour of red wine. this won't do anything for you and in fact tastes kind of bad but it FEELS like you're accomplishing something. rage-eat a handful of peanuts. you aren't hungry but consumption as a coping mechanism is marginally less annoying to the people around you than, say, texting your friend ryan who is also in travel hell and yelling at him about your problems for 45 minutes despite the fact that HE has been stuck on a train since the year of our lord 1901, basically. remember in times like these that your problems are paramount and everyone else's are nothing. you are indeed the most important person in the universe.
text your mom's friend sue, who is supposed to be taking you to the airport tomorrow, to let her know the change in plans. apologize 700 times. call your grandfather again and say, “but dappah, i lost a WHOLE DAY with you.” let him say, “well, isn't that the way of it sometimes, mollydear,” and let that be, honestly, the end of it.
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