The Glad Game

So we’re stuck in a hotel room waiting for some computer glitches to get worked out so that we can return home to Virginia.

A good friend sold us some travel passes at a discounted rate that have turned out to be nothing but trouble since we started this trip.

Not her fault, just one of those things.

But remember that post I wrote about saying no to stress? http://wp.me/p1zHNf-jJ

I’m trying to stay true to it.

I’ve had some great opportunities to practice my say-no-to-stress strategies.

Here’s a review:

For Christmas I gave Doug tickets to opening day at the Nats. The game fell on the same day I wanted to leave to go to Utah. So I decided to fly out of Reagan National Airport, which is closer to the stadium.

Trying to support some clever entrepreneurs who started a game day bus business http://www.ballparkbus.com/, Doug bought tickets to ride this new bus from the suburbs of Northern Virginia to the game in DC.

This meant I needed to haul my luggage on the bus. When we boarded, the owner of Ballpark Bus said, “You know this is a home game, right?”

Hahaha.

The bus wasn’t even close to full but we tried to encourage the owners that once the word got out, business would pick up. We want this company to succeed.

They turned on the Nats radio station, played baseball trivia games and offered us beer or water bottles.

We took the water.

Traffic sailed along until we got to 395. Then we hit a snag. We barely moved.

The clock ticked closer to game time and the bus stood still. The owners started looking nervous and worried. I wondered whether we would make the game and if I’d have to go straight to the airport as soon as we arrived at the game.

Not to worry I told myself. Everything will work out. Just relax.

We finally crossed 14th Street bridge and landed in another mess of traffic.

The national anthem played on the radio.

We saw fireworks out the window.

We were missing the excitement of opening day.

One on-edge passenger asked to bail out as we got closer to the stadium, believing he could walk faster.

Another wanted his money back.

We smiled and gave encouraging looks to the owners and said things like, “You can never predict how DC traffic will be!”

Loyal to Ballpark Bus, we continued to smile, nod our heads in support, and pretend to be calm.

I admit I was tempted to hop out but I had that darn luggage I’d have to tote all across town and I didn’t want people wondering if I thought it was an away game.

Finally we arrived at the stadium. We hauled my luggage up the steps at the back entrance and went to guest services where they happily stowed my bag. Then I donned my red Nats hat and we found our seats.

The innings were rushing by and I had to leave before the real excitement even got started. I went back to guest services, retrieved my luggage, and headed out to find a cab.

I got to the airport at least 90 minutes early and tried to check in at the kiosk.

“Cannot process,” the machine said.

Okay, no reason to panic. I had plenty of time to get on the flight.

One flight attendant after another tried to help me but they kept getting the message I got. “Cannot process.”

I started to wonder whether I would make the flight as the attendants called managers and headquarters and who knows what eles. They punched in one computer code after another, made me call my friend that sold me the passes, and did everything they could to help me get on that flight.
About 15 minutes before takeoff, they delivered the bad news that the ticket wasn’t going to work.


Okay, I could be mad at the attendants, mad at the friend that tried to help me out by selling me a bargain ticket, mad that I left the game that the Nats ended up winning in extra innings, but none of those options would help my situation.
I had two options: figure out how to get back to VA because I already missed the game bus back, and Doug was on that bus so I’d have to wait for him to get home, get in the car and come back to get me in rush hour traffic or I could buy a one-way, last-minute ticket.

Considering I had a funeral I wanted to attend for a dear friend’s dad the next morning and a rare girls night out with all my favorite girls — my mom, sister, daughters and nieces, I opted for the exorbitant ticket.

It was like jumping off the high dive when I was a kid. I just closed my eyes, plugged my nose and jumped. Then I tried to forget about the amount of money I’d see on my next month’s charge card statement.

I refused to feel upset and stressed out about that travel day.

I told myself the day would come and go and I would either be where I wanted to go or I wouldn’t, but neither option was worth a panic attack, a nervous breakdown or an angry snit.

A few hours later, I made it to Utah. The next day, I attended the funeral, had fun with my favorite girls, and considered the ticket a sunk cost.

Fast forward to the end of the trip when I supposedly had everything worked out for Annie and I to return home, using the same kind of tickets that failed me before. But this time, the problem had been worked out, and we weren’t going to encounter any difficulty.

We arrived in plenty of time for the flight.

And guess what?

“Cannot Process” greeted me again.

The agents at the desk ran into the same problem as before and couldn’t process the tickets.

Since Annie was coming home from college, we had more luggage to deal with but we patiently moved everything from one window to the next while travel agents tried to figure out why our tickets wouldn’t process.

Let me toss in here that Annie hadn’t been feeling well and so we decided to make a run to the doctor to see if she had strep throat. Turns out she actually has mono. So we had a little “respond well” rehearsal before we even got to the airport.

We refused to let the stress of mono ruin our day. Then we had to refuse to let another ticket snafu ruin the rest of it.

Finally, the flight attendants told us we couldn’t get the ticket problems worked out and wouldn’t be going anywhere.

Okay, we were still calm.

We called Marriott. We ordered room service. We played the glad game. We repeatedly decided to “choose happy” no matter what happened.

We decided to cheer for the Jazz in their big game against Phoenix. (They won.)

I don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

I keep telling myself it doesn’t matter what happens. We will roll with it. It will be part of our travel adventure.

Because we will not let stress win.

Really, no matter what happens in the morning, we are not going to get mad, frustrated or fed up.

We are going to breathe in, breathe out, and keep adjusting our plan until one finally works because that is how we roll.

Yes, stress can hover over me, taunt me and try to enslave me but I will not succumb.

Tune in for the rest of the story tomorrow…

Comments

  1. You are a true follower of Pollyana! To maintain your good humor through all of that is a credit to your good heart. A gate agent once told me (after he delivered the news that I’d been bumped from my flight and the next one left in 16 hours) that an airplane ticket doesn’t guarantee you a seat on a plane, it just gets you into the system. Apparently, yours didn’t even do that. I hope you get home today, and that Annie gets well soon.

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