A delay in the schedule.
One more day before departure.
Another long line.
One more taxi ride.
One more hotel.
One more early wake-up, one more hotel shuttle.
An extra flight, an extra airport, another layover.
An extra hotel meal, an extra airport meal.
All because of a glitch in a belt, a joint, a switch, a rotor, a piston or some other mechanical problem serious enough to cancel my flight.
The commotion was the first surprise. I stepped into the terminal already checked in, everything crossed off the list, perfect seats already selected, everything running smooth. Until I stepped inside the doors.
Not quite pandemonium, but the anxiety was obvious. The air rippled with the energy of anger, hidden under the surfaces of faces, but ready to leap out and strike given any opportunity. Everyone’s personal plans now changed, schedules unknown, personal traumas created by the mechanical glitch- and everyone willing to share.
My first thoughts were no doubt similar – dismay, anger, disbelief, confusion, resignation. I set to motion- asked for some information, got on the phone, worked quickly to fix my schedule, to beat everyone else to the last seat on the next flight, to get my schedule back on track. The mind started evaluating options, working out timing, figuring out schedules, timetables, measuring trade-offs and best-case and worst-case scenarios. I estimated how quickly I could get re-booked, how quickly I could take care of things here at the airport, how I could get home and avoid the deadly rush hour traffic that is soon to grip the area.
And then, a peace settled over me. What is the rush?
The thought ran through my head, straightened my spine, brought a smile to my face, released the nervous energy in my body, cleared my mind and coursed a sense of freedom through my veins.
What else do I have to do? Where else do I have to go?
How did I get so anal?
In a flash, I realized how my life had been lost in routine. The routines that I had chosen and created for myself had changed the way I think, the way I live.