There are those days you know the instant you get out of bed. You know anything that can go wrong just will. You just know it, you feel it in your bones or something. It is crystal clear from that first interaction you have with your family, or the first thing you attempt to do like make a cup of coffee and end up with coffee all over the kitchen.
There are those other days, when it sneaks up on you. It’s all going well, all going to plan, things are panning out just fine when suddenly, something shifts in the universe, something crackles in the air and everything changes. That day that was going so well suddenly cascades and descends into something of a disaster and you feel like…
Well you feel like flippin the bird at the day. At anything you can, at each person that crosses your path, at each situation that goes wrong.
You could do that, you could crash into a screaming mess of humanity railing against the world or you could somehow, surprisingly and miraculously have it kind of fall off you like water off a ducks back.
I had one of these days and it was the third that happened. This does not happen often, in fact it is something of a rarity, usually the result is likely to be the first or second option.
My bag was packed, a little bit of organising and my carry on bag was also ready. I awaited my ride, travelled pretty much uneventfully to the airport. Said goodbye to my girls and wandered in to the terminal. All was well, I was even running a little early, which is something I quite like to do, so yes, all was well indeed, or so I thought.
The modern airport terminal is a wonderful thing with computerization and automation. You can almost get onto the plane without interaction with any member of staff of the airline. You simply scan your little paper or digital barcode and off you go. Except when that doesn’t work. Then you are on the hunt, for an actual human person. Suddenly humans that work for the airline are in short supply.
I scanned my ticket today and was greeted with the message that this booking number had no associated booking with it. Please find see a customer service attendant. After some searching I find one, they start tapping keys on their computer, can’t find a booking either. No seat allocation under that number, or my name.
About know I am starting to think about flippin that bird. Well actually I am starting to feel the heart racing and the panic and the catastrophe scenarios set in.
Together we walk to the sales counter where he asks the lady behind to find out what the situation is. She looks it up, and politely and officiously states the fare has been credited back. Um, no, I don’t think so…
The bird is getting closer to being flipped around about now. The panic is rising…
Can you check your credit card details to check it the charge ever went through? Um, no, as I didn’t pay for this flight, it was organised for me by the conference organisers. The oh shit factor is really kicking in here.
Here I am with a useless ticket, no transport luggage that is cumbersome at the Melbourne airport knowing that in an hour a flight was leaving and I was meant to be on it.
It is at this point I realise that I have neglected to add the organisers details to my contacts. I begin the process of trawling through the emails, trawling through the Facebook group posts to find the details to contact the person who organised the ticket.
Some furious phone calls and I go and sit and breathe deep and drink coffee. One of the team also travelling from Melbourne is able to save the day with the purchase of a new ticket. All is well again…
Arrival at Brisbane. Baggage claim, waiting waiting, oh oh, where is my bag…
Everyone else has their bag. Oh oh.
The panic begins to rise and just when I think it is the perfect encore to the earlier fiasco my bag emerges from the tunnel and onto the belt all alone but there nonetheless ready for me to collect it with joy.
For some reason throughout this situation today I was able to keep a calm coping exterior. Internally I was in a state of panic and running all kinds of scenarios of what may be the outcome. The exterior was able to hold on until the situation was alleviated and the interior could then find some equilibrium again. But why?
Why was I able to deal with this so well. How in this situation when so many other times the very same situation would have driven me straight into screaming meltdown?
Well I really don’t have an answer? The response of the organisers was surely a contributing factor. Their calmness and simple dealing with the situation was a real help.
I am left with a feeling, a bit of an inkling of an idea that in the end we just can’t predict or know how we are going to be able to deal with a situation. The same situation may one day drive us to meltdown and the next be like water off a ducks back, and again the next cause us to turn and scream an expletive or two at it but effectively just flip the bird and move on.
I guess there’s no answer here, no wonderful words of wisdom. What can I say? I am not really sure to be honest, perhaps to grasp that light of positiveness that is offered by those seeking to sort the situation for you. Perhaps that is what was the key difference today.
Whatever it was, I do have a sense of triumph. I shitty situation, no meltdown, no shutdown. Sorted out without lasting impact or difficulty. Yes A sense of triumph indeed.