Today dawned fair and excellent: bright, clear and cool.
Now, most of you found at least one problem with the previous sentence. Some of you might have known that I didn’t come up with “fair and excellent” all on my own. The credit for that, of course, goes to Emily Dickinson.
The rest of you, if you’ve been reading my blogs, probably know that I don’t normally use “dawn” as a verb. I have nothing against it: In fact, it’s one of those near-anachronisms that I like. It’s one of those locutions I really wish I could use without sounding self-conscious, sentimental or, worse, pretentious. I know I can be pretty literary (Is that possible?) but I ain’t that literary.
It reminds me of the time Tommy James used the word “yonder” in one of his songs. I don’t know the man personally, but somehow I doubt that he’s ever uttered that word in his life. As with the verb form of “dawn”, I love it. However,iIt’s not the sort of thing one drops into normal conversations in this culture and time; one isn’t likely to hear it much outside of church hymns and Christmas carols.
Anyway…back to the opening sentence of this post. What’s wrong with it—as some of you might have suspected—I didn’t see anything “dawn.” I slept through it because I didn’t get home until 1:40 this morning. That’s about three and a half hours later than I’d planned.
If you live in the central part of the United States, you might have experienced some wicked weather. Well, when you guys (Those of us raised in blue-collar neighborhoods in northeastern US are wont to use “guys” as if it were a gender-neutral term!) in Kentucky and Illinois and other place were experiencing hail and even tornadoes, much of the southeast and mid-Atlantic region were drenched and shaken by storms that flashed through the skies.
Those storms hadn’t begun yet when I was waiting to board my flight at Daytona Beach. But, as you know, when Atlanta sneezes, almost every other air terminal in the region gets at least a cold. And the Hartsfield was experiencing convulsions and seizures. Hence the delays in Daytona and other depots.
At first, I didn’t mind. They way my flights were originally scheduled, I had a layover of nearly two and a half hours in Atlanta. So, a half-hour or even an hour’s delay would still leave me with plenty of time to catch my flight to JFK, even in a terminal as sprawling as Hartsfield. Then again, I figured, my connecting flight would probably be delayed as well, I mused to myself.
That’s probably the biggest understatement I’ve made to myself in ages! It had rained in Atlanta, all right. But an even bigger cloudburst was on the way. After the other passengers and I boarded the plane, the skies opened up so much that we could barely see outside the window. So we couldn’t take off. Nor could many other flights scheduled just before and after ours. And, as it turned out, there were more of such flights than usual because of the Augusta golf tournament. Plus, students (and faculty members) were returning from spring recess. So, all of those flights were completely booked, which meant that the terminal was packed with people waiting to board the flights after ours.
Our flight was scheduled to depart at 17:58. But it didn’t take off until 21:20. Yes, you read that right. And we landed in JFK at 23:00. But, according to the captain, there weren’t any airport staff members to guide the plane into the gate. So he did everything he could to summon them. Finally, we started to exit the plane fifteen minutes before midnight. By then, almost all of the concessions in the airport were closed. I didn’t need them, but I’m sure others could have used a cup of coffee or a drink or something. Even more important, they were connecting to other flights. The guy sitting next to me was going to Dubai. That flight was also delayed, but even so, he had only a few minutes to get to it after we finally got off our plane.
I got off at a part of the airport that was unfamiliar to me. I don’t know whether it was my fatigue or a lack of signage, but it seemed to take almost as long for me to get out of there as it did to get to it! Oh, if only I’d had my bike with me!
The flight from Atlanta to any NYC airport normally takes a bit less than two hours. But when I finally got off the Air Train and into the subway, I realized that from the time of the scheduled departure until the time I got off the plane, nearly six hours had elapsed. That’s how long it takes, on a typical day, to fly from JFK to CDG. I’m sure someone on my flight was going there. I hope that person caught his or her flight!
Maybe I’ll ride my bike down to my parents’ next time I go. Of course, I’ll need a longer recess for that. As for today, I slept late and was still tired, so I didn’t ride. I hope I will tomorrow.