Well, to start things off, I had to leave Texas a day after the funeral, just when I was enjoying myself with the rest of the family. It was a shame to be together so briefly.

Then, the Cowboys somehow managed to blow a ten-point lead in the fourth quarter after dominating on defense. Just awful, especially since I boarded Flight 541 (Dallas to Phoenxi) with that lead intact, and the game's script seemingly foregone.

Then, the connecting flight from Phoenix to Fresno made it to Fresno in good time, around 10:20.......

....and circled

....and circled

....and circled

Eventually it was announced that we could not land due to the heavy fog conditions, which seemed difficult to credit given the amount of detail I could pick up from my window seat, but I don't make these decisions. Bakersfield was mentioned as an alternate destination, but it quickly came back that their airport was also shrouded in condensation. Then, Burbank was discussed but (comically) I overheard the very put-out stew (I was in the front row, seat 1C) express her disbelief that 'nobody in Burbank is even answering the phone!'

After another ten minutes, the decision was made to go to Santa Barbara (!) because someone there had answered the phone. When we arrived, a young man in a snow cap and shorts (!) came up the ladder and expressed shock that any passengers would deplane, much less require alternative transportation to get from Santa Barbara to Fresno. He actually tried to convince the crew of the (Canadair) Bombadier CRJ-200 to take off and go to some other airport!

Once we left the aircraft, it was pretty clear why: the place was a ghost town. Nothing was open at the airport other than the main lobby. Nothing. No coffee, not so much as a candy bar machine. Just ominous posters from Homeland Security and desks to check baggage and issue boarding passes to, apparently, nowhere. It was dark, slightly misty and for about 30 of us passengers (mostly total strangers) it was limbo. Under stress, many of that not-too-happy band began revealing their grace, or lack of it, in what were likely characteristic ways. The faux-Mission style architecture merely added to the creepiness of a scenario right out of a Stephen King novella, in which no doubt members of the motley crew would be dispatched horrifically one-by-one. Or, at least, this is the sort of thing that pops into your head in such a scenario. I tried to put the heebie-jeebies aside by calling the district's automated line and requesting a sub for my Monday classes which I would clearly not be able to teach.

Eventually, the young man in shorts reemerged to 'explain' that there was no bus company in Santa Barbara willing to transport us back to Fresno Yosemite International, but that a bus could be engaged from Fresno, but they would have to go the long way due to the fog down I-5 and over through Ventura County, but perhaps they could be here by 3:00 in the morning, and could he get a head count of those who want to take that option? Well, in point of fact nobody wanted to take that option, but since it was the only one on the table that promised a return by Monday morning (the car rental place had closed), many of us acquiesced. And, when the bus eventually pulled up at 4:48, it was a bit of relief. I was walking to the parking lot at FYI to find my truck a little after 10:00, a mere eleven hours or so later than originally planned. And it wasn't such a tough Sunday after all.

Because it was Monday. I'm rolling my eyes so hard at this point I may develop callouses. My sub carried my morning classes, but I'm going in this afternoon because we have staff meetings and because I'm assisting Mr. Oliver in coaching ACADEC. At least I get pizza!


Oh, but it gets better. It seems that while I was purchasing tickets from USAirways through Expedia.com, someone swiped by credit card info. By Wednesday of this week my wife was drawing my attention to a supposed purchase of goods on-line from Armani. As if I was 'Mr. GQ'! When we contacted the bank, we learned of several more transactions that hadn't yet posted, nearly a thousand dollars worth of stuff. Well, we canceled the card and filed paperwork to get our money back, so the lesson's not too expensive, but man, I've had a week!

1 comment:

Shelly D. said...

Whoa! That was a hellacious trip. I remember Fresno fog. In fact I remember one specific night walking from the student union to my dorm. I was frantically waving my hand in front of my face and couldn't see it. I think to this day that was the creepiest walk I've ever taken. Glad you made it home in one piece!