“Later this month I’ll be flying to Vancouver, B.C., for work. I’m planning to... reflect upon what I’ve received from the airline, airport, pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and all the personnel and inventors and engineers who will have made my flights possible. If something goes wrong and I miss one of my two connecting flights or wind up spending hours in an airport due to inclement weather or experience some other hassle, I hope that I will be able to maintain my resolve not to complain and instead find ways to still marvel, be grateful, and give something back."Well, I wanted to write a post about how I did.
First, it wasn’t very hard to keep this commitment, initially, because despite the fact that I left Maine in a snowstorm, every flight ran on time, and I even had a whole row to myself between New York and Salt Lake City. I tried to contain my inner complainer a bit when the woman in the seat on the other side of the aisle was coughing the whole time, but since I was able to move to the window and create some distance I did fine keeping the complainer at bay. (I would add, though, that now I have a cough myself and need to fly to New York City on Friday, where I will likely annoy someone else if I’m still coughing -- I promise to keep a lozenge in my mouth the entire time if necessary!)
The flights back home were equally uneventful. I was grateful. Especially in the Detroit Airport, which has the coolest light and music show that accompanies the moving walkway between Gates A and C and which always makes me smile.
I arrived in Bangor at 1 a.m. After digging out my car, I began my 45-minute drive home in freezing rain. The roads were bad, but not horribly so, so I went slowly and expected the drive would just take longer than usual. But by the time I reached the town of Dedham, the road had become a sheet of ice.
Before I go on, I should say that this particular stretch of road between Dedham and Ellsworth comes with bad memories. On our trip to the area to find a place to live shortly before we moved here, I ran out of gas on this stretch of road. On another late night drive home from the airport, my car lights failed, which was quite harrowing. A friend’s son says that this section of road is haunted, and even though I wouldn’t go that far, it’s a hilly, dark, and lonesome road through the mountains at night. And I should also say that shortly after moving to Maine, I skidded off a road (not this one) on black ice and over a 10 foot embankment, totaling my car, and so I’m particularly scared of icy roads.
I came to the one light on the stretch of road where there’s a gas station. I considered holing up in my car until morning rather than trying to go further, but the thought of such a cold night in the car without appropriate clothing chilled me, literally. So I climbed the hill past the gas station and realized my car was having trouble gaining any traction on the ice. At the crest of the hill was the Dedham School. I pulled in to call my husband. He offered to come get me, thinking I was probably overreacting because of my history on icy roads, but I told him no in no uncertain terms!
My hope lay ahead one more mile. At the very top of a bigger hill, nestled in the mountains and overlooking a beautiful Maine lake, lay the Lucerne Inn. I had no idea if they were open, and I knew I could go no further after that because the road precipitously descends beyond the inn, but I decided it was worth it to try to make it there.
I almost wiped out as I got out of the car because the parking lot was a sheet of ice as well (of course it was!), but I caught myself. Then I was provided with a warm room with a comfy bed. I was so profoundly grateful. Grateful the inn was open and that someone heard me knock at 1:45 in the morning. Grateful I could afford a night’s stay at a lovely inn. Grateful that I hadn’t had to spend a cold night sitting in my car waiting for the roads to be safe.
So, I guess one could say that I succeeded in my goal not to complain when something went awry on the trip.
Author of Most Good, Least Harm
Image courtesy of Morten Rand-Hendriksen via Creative Commons.
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