Somewhere I heard a saying “Make plans, God laughs” or something to that effect. After having written my post on Monday and looking forward to my flight to San Francisco on Tuesday, everything changed. I woke up at 4:15 and treated myself to a taxi since it was a bank holiday in France and I wasn’t sure of the trains. I arrived a little before 6am to learn that my flight was ‘delayed’ 11 hours. Would I like to reschedule? After hearing my options, I told the woman at the check-in desk that I’d rather wait for a direct flight at 7pm. I’d just go back into Paris. Weeeelllll, she really did draw that word out, it might be safer if I rescheduled another flight. She clearly already knew what she couldn’t tell me–that the flight would be cancelled 20 minutes later.
It seemed my only option was to wait at Charles de Gaulle for 5 hours then fly to Washington D.C. I would go through passport control and customs in Washington then go to a domestic terminal after checking my luggage back in. I’d get a flight to SFO about 2 hours later. And even though I had upgraded to Business Class with miles, “we are so sorry, Madame, there are no business class seats left, so you’ll fly economy”
United Lounge at Charles De Gaulle airport
First, I’m not good with change. It throws me. I’m not very good at waiting. However I managed to sit in the United Lounge for my requisite hours, e-mailing people that I wouldn’t be where I was supposed to be and boarded the plane to Washington. I’ve been very lucky, as it turns out. Both Paris and San Francisco are very lenient with flights coming from both cities about getting through customs. Not so in Washington D.C. I was walking down the walkway when a cute looking beagle walked right up to my suitcase smiling away. The beagles handler asked me if I had fruit etc in the suitcase and I said yes, and waved my Drs letter. She gave me an orange sticker and pointed me in the direction of a new conveyor belt. Between fatigue, disappointment over all the changes and some basic unfounded fear, I had myself a temper tantrum. The little woman in charge of investigating criminals bringing one apple into the US was tearing open all my presents I had bought in tax-free while waiting at CDG. She found my apple and gleefully raised it with an ah ha, gotcha you. I tried some 10 year old manipulation tactics that never worked when I was 10 years old so not sure why I thought they’d work now. Yes, I made a scene and in so doing, turned what was already an uncomfortable day into a bit of a nightmare for myself.
My cute little beagle at Dulles International!!
Sans apple, I rechecked my luggage and made my way to the second leg of my flight. I got to my home in Oakland, California about 9 hours after I was rescheduled to arrive. I didn’t have to stay awake until this time zone’s night time, I went right to bed and got a good night’s sleep. But it took me another day to stop blaming customs in Washington DC for my “nightmare” trip and own up to the fact that I brought quite a bit of it on myself.
My willingness to be a little more generous may have had a lot to do with the fact that I got to see my first baseball game Wednesday evening since last April. For a baseball fan, that is quite a drought. And what a game! Game 7 between two evenly matched teams that were both in search of an illusive World Series Championship. For the Chicago Cubs, it had been 108 years. I was rooting for them just because of that history.
And what a nail biter of a game. Trying to explain baseball to a french person is somewhat like trying to teach Chinese in a day. The french are Futbol fans. Futbol is fast and lively. People who don’t understand baseball say it is like watching paint dry! So I go without baseball in Paris.
The game was so unpredictable, so closely matched and, in my opinion, so overly managed by Joe Maddon, that the Chicago Cubs won in spite of him. Not that this is news to anyone. Everyone in the world must know that “Wait till next year” came this year. The Chicago Cubs are 2016 World Champions–although the word world is a bit euphemistic. It was thrilling, it was worse than a horror film. At one point, I changed the channel, I thought my stomach would never survive the back and forth of scores between the two teams. But the Cubs had God on their side Wednesday. There was a seventeen minute rain delay and in that time, the Cubs held a team meeting without any of the coaches and boosted themselves back on board as winners.
Excitement and joy are contagious. I’ve been to Wrigley Field once in my life. But I had no trouble jumping on the bandwagon of exhilaration and felt so grateful that these moments allowed me to forget my trip and appreciate that I got to watch the game. And what a game!!!!!