Yesterday morning was busy finishing up the last minute details before my trip. I folded the laundry and laid out three outfits for Robby to wear on the days that I'm gone. Meals were labeled and organized in the refrigerator. I wrote out a dozen little cards and hid them around the house for Robby to discover while I am away. With my boys taken care of, all I had to do was pack.
Mr. Bill drove me to the airport with Robby happily chattering in the backseat of his truck. I thought that there were going to be tears or at least an obligatory lament of "I'm going to miss you." Instead I got a quick, "Have a good trip, Momom" followed by a happy proclamation that "Daddy and I are going to get dinner at Sheetz tonight because that is where a real man goes to eat." So much for the meals I prepared!
With no tears shed, I felt a surge of confidence when I entered the airport. This, I decided, was going to be a fantastic trip. I was open for any opportunity or adventure that lies ahead. I felt a surge of enthusiasm and was becoming excited about working at the conference.
A smooth TSA experience only bolstered my excitement. I went to Auntie Anne's (my favorite airport treat) and learned that it was buy one- get one free pretzel day! Could this trip get any better?
Armed with my free pretzel, I took my seat on the plane. The flight was so smooth that I forgot that I was flying. I became so immersed in my book that the flight time passed quickly.
My bag was actually waiting for me by the time I arrived at baggage claim. There was no line for a taxi. The temperature was warm, and the sun was shining brightly. It felt as if the universe was affirming that this trip was going to be fantastic.
I told the taxi driver my hotel name and settled back for a comfortable ride. I reached for my cell phone and heard squealing brakes and felt a strong lurch. Boom! Perhaps I became too confident. My taxi driver rear-ended the car in front of us.
My neck jerked forward and my body tensed simultaneously. My bag went flying against the seat in front of me. Steam was rising from the hood of the taxi. My taxi driver began cursing in a language I didn't understand and, at one point, I was fairly confident that he was going to get in a fist fight with the other driver.
I gave my information to the airport security officer, took the bad taxi driver's card, and grabbed my luggage. I hoofed it back to the taxi stand, shaking and upset. I was flipped off by my first driver when he saw me drive past in another taxi, apparently upset that he lost the fare.
My "good news conference attitude" was teetering by the time I arrived at the hotel. Thankfully, I was only the third person in line to check in. I was looking forward to lying down for a few minutes, relaxing, and gathering my composure before conquering the booth for the welcome reception.
Unfortunately the entire computer system for the hotel was corrupted. I stood in line for 90 minutes before I was checked in. I made it to my room with only enough time to change my clothes, put on make-up, and go to work.
Today I will be working in the booth all day. I am no longer feeling the sense of invincibility that I felt before I sat in the first taxi. At this point, I'm not expecting great things. Now I'm just hoping to survive unscathed.