Leaving San Diego...Or So I Thought

May 13, 2008
By Carly VanOpdorp, Rochester, NY

A delay at the airport… almost everyone has experienced them. I had just reached the end of an enthralling vacation in San Diego, and beginning my 3 and ½ hour peregrination back to good old Rochester, NY. Or so I thought. We had arrived at the terminal an hour early, and I was passing the time by reading my book. I was very intent with it, I had just received it yesterday, and I have read Dragon Rider, by Cornelia Funke ten times since. My father turned to me then and said that its time to board our plane. I followed my family through the portal tunnel and breathed my last breath of the wonderful La Jolla air before stepping on to the cramped, stuffy airplane. After I sat down next to my father, my brother said; “Mama, why are we leaving San ‘Iego’ [Diego]? My mother replied; “We have to go back to Rochester to see Sukey”. We had brought our cat, Sukey, to stay at my grandparents’ house for the week. I was trying to tune to the Discovery channel on my miniscule television, but it was attributing to my desires. Instead I took out my book and attempted to read it. When the plane began to peregrinate to the runway, I place my book on the seat table (I am hesitant when it comes to reading in moving vehicles, in case I get car/air sick), and glimpsed my last view of wonderful, tropical, peaceful San Diego. Our plane inched toward the runway, began to speed up, and stopped right in the middle of the runway. The pilot turned the plane around and sat between two runways. When we ceased to move, I took out my book and made yet another attempt at reading it. I was forced to put it down because the seat was stifling hot, I could never in all my days comprehend the reason why the solitary air you could turn on was heat, when we are in a tropical location, and you would normally assume that there was air conditioning instead of heat! Finally the pilot comes on the speakers and tells us that the Chicago airport is having technical difficulties and that we cannot lift off until an estimated 45 minutes have passed and Chicago can locate us on their radar. My ears experienced much profanity as people discovered that they would be late for dinner. We did not go back to wait in the terminal. We did not get off the plane at all. There was no room to stretch your legs. And it was still hot in there. Finally, we started to take the runway and gradually took to the air and we were on our way to Chicago, Illinois. And also, the cold air came on! Since I was at long last allowed to read my book, I did that until I could see that we were losing altitude and the lights of Chicago could be viewed out the window. Then, I began to see the same skyscraper going round and round. The pilot came on again and said that there was no room to land on the runway, and we had to circle around the airport for yet another 45 minutes. My mother says to my father from behind, “Maybe you should call your brother and ask if we can stay with him tonight, we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.” My uncle lives in Chicago, not far from the airport. My heart nearly stopped when I heard that we might miss our plane to New York. At last, I realized that we were losing altitude and zooming towards the runway. The second we got off at the terminal, my father said; “Hurry, we have 5 minutes to get to the other side of the terminal to Rochester!” We hustled as fast as we could, I was clutching my book so as not to drop it or lose the bookmark. 5 minutes later, we arrived at the other side of the airport, only to learn that our plane to Rochester, yes, had been delayed for one last loop of 45 minutes. I can only imagine how the dignity of the Chicago airport has been ruptured when one flight is delayed 3 times in a row. I sighed and, once more, picked up my book and read. I was roused from my dragon faze when our last 45 minute wait was over. I had finished my book, and, since I had nothing better to do, I started it over again. I was utterly exhausted when we got to our house, I was already on good old New York time, and I retired to my bed the minute I returned to my prominent home.

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