The Flu, a Fort, and No Power in Atlanta
(10 Most Memorable Moments and Takeaways)
There was a recent inconvenience at the Atlanta International Airport: power was lost, flights were cancelled, and passengers were stranded. It turned out to be a pretty big deal and a lot of people were upset—Delta got shit on. You may have heard about it.
I was there.
After the initial panic attack—phoned my mother; cried—and a few dramatic text messages to my lady friend, the experience turned to be more of the revelatory variety for me. The flu sucked, sure, and I cackled and shivered like a withdrawing Heroin addict (think Jamie Foxx in “Ray”), but a number of things happened that actually made me appreciate the experience. I resisted the low-hanging negativity—avoided the travelers who assumed Delta did this on purpose—and tried to become present in a kinder manner. By doing that I realized some special moments. I made a list.
- Drugs from a stranger: The drug was generic Ibuprofen. I didn’t want number one on my list to be basic and innocuous, so I hinted at an illegal exchange of narcotic. Not the case… Once forced from the plane—after a gentle runway sit of three hours—I prodded into Terminal A of the Atlanta Airport. I followed a beaten line of passengers into a dark, post-apocalyptic congregation. I was scared. My mom didn’t answer when I first called and I became panicked. In a move of propriety, I entered a line that was 26.2 miles long. I entered the line because everyone else was doing that. It led to Delta customer service and assistance, so it turned out to be the right move. Five miles/thirty minutes later, though, conditions worsened. Type A Influenza gave me a bro-hug and settled in; the shivers taking hold. Self-pity and gloom were preparing to blanket me. It sucked, and I was going to give in. I was also going to join the elder couple to my right telling the flight attendant that she “did this (airport power outage) on purpose.” Then, in as subtle form as I can relate, my mood changed. A young, surprisingly amiable pair of lady bff’s behind me asked if I wanted some medicine. Surprised and in a bit of stupor, I responded so aggressively and so appreciatively that before verbally saying “yes” a large, opaque bubble exited my nose, expanding. At the snot bubbles inflated peak, it popped. The pop was violent… The two friends laughed. They laughed, then introduced themselves, then handed me three pills of iburprofen along with a bottle of water and a travel pack of tissues. Then they pointed to top of my lip and beard where they indicated there was quite a bit of residual nasal discharge. (Zero embellishment. The snot bubble was an absolute Scud missile.)
- Customer Service: Completing the marathon in under two hours, I found myself at the front of the customer service line. When it was my turn I was directed to a phone. After a few minutes on hold—below average music—a beaten voice registered on the line. She was professional, and helpful, but it wasn’t hard to discern that she had been on the wrong end of some angry calls. After acquiring the personal flight and booking info necessary, I genuinely thanked her for her help. I told her I was going to try and go get some Facetime nip from my girlfriend before my flight departed in 14 hours. She laughed. She laughed very hard. She told me how much it meant that I was kind to her during this ordeal and that she would be praying for me to get home safely… Jokes aside (about my gf and anatomy of said gf), that interaction really resonated with me.
- We Built a Fort: When I found out where my gate was, I went there. I went there and I used some airline blankets and I built a fort. The password was “free-delta-voucher-or-the-fort-ain’t-coming-down-dude”.
- Lenka: No dirty pics but she did send one in the Kimono I bought her from Disney’s Epcot (Japan). It means a lot that she accommodates my affinity for Asian culture/women.
- Chick-Fil-A: Power was lost at the Atlanta airport on a Sunday morning. Passengers were stranded for the entirety of Sunday and several hours into Monday. If you know anything about the Chick-Fil-A franchise, you know that they do not operate on Sundays. Out of respect and adherence to a religious belief, all restaurants are closed on that holy day. So, when those little delectable, protein packed bundles of goodness were distributed in my terminal, I lost my shit. I was overcome with joy. I met the Chick-Fil-A employee in front of my gate as he was handing out the sandwiches and I asked for five. I pointed to fort I had just constructed and he assumed I had children. He gave me six.
- My Guy Shom: So, with the power out, charging a phone was an issue. My phone died in the evening. I had a laptop that would serve as a power source, but naturally I had left my charger back at the hotel from whence I came. So, with the power out, I went door to door (gate to gate) inquiring as to who possessed an Android. For whatever reason, despite the fact that Lebron James uses a Samsung, people only own Apple products. It was not until Gate A 10 where I met an awesome dude (now Facebook official friends) who had a charging cord that fit my phone. We ended up chilling for the next couple hours, even doing the unspoken I’ll watch your ish while you go to bathroom and, bring me back some snacks from the snack cart, bro. Shom was the man. Before he left I showed him a picture of my girlfriend in a Kimono.
- Employee Vitamin C: The power came on just before midnight. My fever was coming back Charlies Angel (full throttle) and the cough/cackle was rearing its unpleasant dome once again. The only shop that opened right away was a small media outlet. I struggled over, wheezing and sniffling, and purchased a water; not the time for a Sudoku. The store attendant, cognizant of my state, looked as if she wanted to come hug me. She jerked around, rifled through her purse, and spun back with two packs of immune boosting, nutrient-laden E-mergency. She then opened the water and mixed the first pouch for me. I was actually super sick at this point and don’t remember her name but I’ve been calling her Angel Face since leaving Atlanta.
- Mom: Nancy counseled me and calmed me. She told me what to do about my flu and she told me she loved me. She was great. I love my mother very much, even though I knew she was low key happy I was having travel difficulties without her.
- BIG Snuggle Couple: Adjacent my fort, about five feet away, lay a large mass. The mass was comprised of two separate entities. One of the entities was named Nick and the other was named Jasmine. Together, in a cuddle, they formed the large mass. I know their names because I listened to their conversation from the proximal confines of my fort. For a solid six to eight hours—late night to early morning—they lay in spoon embrace and loved on each other. Nothing dirty or aggressive, just, hugging and smiling and loving. It was cute, and they were upbeat about the situation, always positive in their talk. They made the evening more pleasant and I enjoyed hearing about their lives, especially their impending marriage plans. They didn’t know I was listening, because I built a well-structured fort, but I do hope they decide to go with Jasmines idea and have the wedding back home in the same church as mom (Patricia) and dad (Steve).
- Chick-Fil-A: I walked to Terminal C to get the free chicken sandwiches one more time.