Return From Atlanta

As I sit here in the Atlanta airport I get a phone call from an 800 number informing me that my flight has been delayed. This is not my final flight, I still have a connection in Phoenix that will take me home to Flagstaff. The initial delay in PHX was 53 minutes. My flight has now been pushed back 40 minutes. Leaving my official time to get to the gate at 3 minutes assuming I can get off of the plane immediately. I say 3 minutes because its airport policy to shut the doors ten minutes prior to departure “Thanks a lot Bin-Laden!” So I did the only prudent thing I could think of, I went to the counter and asked if I could be any closer to the front of the aircraft, I was in row 16.
When I get to the line I notice there are 5 people in front of me and one guy standing off to the left side of the line kinda looking around like he is lost. So I stand in line, but the problem is there is no one at the kiosk to start helping us, one guy is even sitting down in the line, I guess he has been there a long time. Ten minutes pass and I notice a worker see the kiosk is empty and heads off to go get help I assume. At this point there are atleast 6 people behind me and that one lost looking fellow is still standing there off to the side of me.
When the workers arrive to start helping us the line begins to move, but not quickly as the guy sitting down has stood up, but is still taking up quite a lot of space with his baggage and general aroma. After he makes it to the kiosk the line takes a marginal move forward, but as soon as the guy in front of me starts to move the lost dude to my left immediately gets in front of me in line. He makes no eye contact or says anything to me. Obviously I make the connection that he was there first, and I guess he was attempting to stand in line so I am not offended. But seriously, we live in a society and it would have been nice for him to mention to me either at the beginning that he was indeed in line, or at the end when he jutted in front of me explaining his motives and not leaving it to me to figure it out.
When I make it to the front I first make sure to great the lady with pleasantries because it always seems to help things out if you are genuinely nice to people before you start asking them to help you. I calmly explain my situation to her about my flight having a super tight connection to see if there is anything she can do. She just looks at me like, “well what do you want me to do about it?” So I let her know that I am interested in getting as close to the front of the aircraft as possible. She offers me the exit row seat in row 10 (that not 3 hours ago when I asked for this seat at the counter would have cost me $50 bucks), even though it’s a middle seat and I am giving up a window I take it because those extra 2 minutes from getting from row 16 to 10 while deplaining might actually help me make the flight to Flagstaff. I also at this time kindly ask her to send a message to my next flight to hold the plane for me because I am only late due to this flight. She obliges. I also inquire about the location of our landing gate to the proximity to my next departure gate, A, and B, so its about 10 minutes walking or 3-5 running full out.
You see this is the problem with addiction. When I first heard about my delay logistics start to play out in my mind about the night coming up and what I am going to do with myself. I know that is the last flight going up to Flagstaff for the evening so if I miss it I need to get a hotel or rent a car. So my first thought was to the hotel, and then thinking about where I was going to get some beer to drink once I got there. Logistically speaking though it would be ridiculous for me to get a hotel, it would be cheaper and a better idea to rent a car and drive home, the company will be paying for it anyways. I’m going to be home tonight no matter what. I have been away from home too long. And the logical part of me knows that, but still my instinct was to plan out a night of drinking.
There is truly no part of me that is pissed off about my delay. I feel inconvenienced by it, but since it is out of my control I really do not care. This is something that my younger self could not deal with. I would be furious about this. I think the part of my life where I made it through that was driving back and forth from south las vegas all the way through las vegas in rush hour traffic every day to work. It would literally take me 1.5 hrs to get home from work every day. I can vividly remember sitting there in the car shaking the steering wheel because I was so frustrated with something that I had no control over. There was always two signs right next to the strip and right around Cheetahs gentlemans club that was of Jesus saying something like “God loves you.” Everyday seeing this I would calm down a little bit. Eventually I started to focus on the prayer for patience. It goes something like this: Lord help me to accept the things in life that I cannot change, the strength to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference between those. I would say that over and over to myself for days, weeks, months.
I finally realized that I had no control over the traffic so I cannot let it affect my mental state, after all I did not want to arrive at the house with a wife and three kids all pissed off and take it out on them. I have worked hard my entire life to be a positive force around them in the household. So the wisdom I gained here is that what I could change was the location of my residence. We began the process of selling our house and moving to the north side of town and reducing the commute by 45 minutes. Of course this was in 2007/2008 and the housing market was about to take a HUGE dive. To make this short and to sum up, we did not end up selling this house, it became a foreclosure. We ended up renting houses for the next 4 years before we were able to buy another house.
My flight was just delayed another 15 minutes.
You know the best thing about the non-drinking nights is how I feel in the morning. There are two ways this makes me feel good. First I feel like I was able to stand up to myself and deny my wants and desires to withhold from drinking. That’s the most obvious and most everyone will feel that way too. But the other way is actually the more concerning reason. My body actually feels better those mornings. My back feels better, my legs, liver, head (slightly less foggy and more clear, I rarely have headaches unless I drink wine, which is why I don’t drink wine anymore even though my wife is big into it and it would be kinda something for us to do together, which is why I used to do it so much), and overall general wellness. I think in the long run I will be more athletic too, its hard to explain but a part of me tells me that if I keep up drinking I wont be able to do the things I want to do with my kids due to health issues. It could just the added weight I am carrying around on my body, its heavy and makes things hurt, my knees and back especially. I think optimally I would like to weigh around 220 pounds instead of 240. And that has nothing to do with looks because I am generally not concerned with what I look like.
This is partly due to the fact that I am married with kids and do not need to focus on my appearance in order to get into and hold a relationship. I am also very confident in myself so that helps as well. So the goal to get down to 220 is because when I was that weight (about 10 years ago) everything was easier to do in sports. Now it is a struggle to dunk a basketball, when just a few years ago it felt easy. When my boys get to be in highschool sports it has always been important to me to be able to show them how to play the game from my perspective, that includes dunking the basketball and all the wonderful ways that can be done.
The plane I will be flying in just arrived. It is a smaller glimmer of hope that we just might make the next connection. It is 6:23 pm with an official departure time of 7:00 pm, (originally 6:05pm). My next flight leaves at 8:00 pm Arizona time, with a scheduled 4 hour flight time that puts me arriving at the airport slightly late. They could still hold the plane though.
Wheels up at 7:10 pm and there is a shimmer of hope for me to make this actually work out. The hope still though does not lay with me making the connection no, the hope is for me. Once during the takeoff process I felt something.
You see its been a few years since I felt emotions like I used to. To some extent I am dead on the inside. The benefit to this is that I do remain remarkably calm during some situations that would drive normal people insane. Due to the nature of the jobs I have held this was something that must have been learnt along the way. So when I feel one, I try to hold on to it and think about it. But once I start doing that it goes away. Once you are awake its hard to go back to sleep.
Anyway, what I felt was I guess close to anxiety. I have not felt anxiety for some while. When the pilot said over the speaker the flight time of 3 hours 30 minutes I got to thinking about logistics and again back to the hotel. Why do I keep defaulting to the hotel plan when it will not work out.
One other thing to note about feelings. Some people will argue that the only reason to drink to the level of addiction is that you are trying to drown out some sort of event or personal failure. This has never been the case for me. At the most rudimentary level I consistently drink to attempt to increase my personal happiness. Even though it rarely does bring that.
Just got into phoenix promptly at 7:40 pm. My original departure was 7:59 pm, but I need to deplane from row 10 and make my way all the way over to A terminal. My seatmate was generous enough to let me out before him and I am able to get up and out a little faster than usual. Once I get out of the ramp I make a quick look at the departure screen to check for any gate changes that may have gone on, and good thing I did because it did change gates… and terminals. But what do you know, it was switched over to B terminal, which is where I happen to be. I grab my suitcase by the side and start running. I utilize the moving walkways as well and run on those. I make quick time and get over to my new gate to find it FULL of people with “Palm Springs” on the board. The flight attendant asks me where I am going and I say flag and she says that I am fine. I am puzzled and ask about all of these people and their destination, she assures me that they are also waiting to go to flagstaff. After walking back into the crowd I ask the nearest person I see, “where are you headed?”, she answers flagstaff.
As it turns out someone on the crew got injured within the plane somehow. There were police, airport security and a fire engine out there for like 20 minutes. The attendant then lets us know of an hour delay. But in the end it does appear as though I will make this flight.
I board the plane, return to normal life and addiction sadley marches on.

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