I should have known that my luck was too good when I got onto my flight from Roma Fiumincino Airport to Toronto to find a half empty airplane. I had to seats next to a window. I was living the life: I took a nap, read a note that I had written to myself at the beginning of the semester, and watched “Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy.” That last one comes highly recommended.
My luck failed me on the second flight to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. The plane was twice as small and packed to the water closets. It was here that I received a forceful reminder of the American norm. I was surrounded by business men who spent the majority of their time on their Blackberry’s, loud voiced and all just a bit overweight. I’d say culture shock, but it felt more like culture punch.
Sleeping through much of the flight, I caught bits of ominous announcements concerning “weather” and “delay.” Maybe I had hoped it was a dream, or part of my worsening sickness (when I wasn’t coughing I was blowing my nose into used tissues), but I figured I must have heard them wrong. Until we landed.
“Welcome to the Indianapolis Airport.”
Muttering multi-lingual curses I strained my ears to discern the problem. Storm. Hail. Redirecting. What had been planned as a two-hour flight was deteriorating into a four, maybe five hour flight.
The situation was redeemed when, during the return flight, we flew through a lightning storm. As odd as that sounds, I had been hoping for a lightning storm for four months and this was more than I could have asked for. Staring transfixed at the searing, undulating flares of light I remembered that there was some beautiful aspects to this land. The fact that this may turn into a fitting “silver lining” metaphor does not bother me one bit.