The following account of my Friday night falls into the category of “do as I say, not as I do” for all the young women out there.
I found myself in the Indianapolis Airport on a Friday night, my flight scheduled for a 7:15pm take off, but the band of black clouds and angry lightning bolts peppering the airfield made me quickly realize that at best, my flight would be delayed. So, I bellied up to the bar, got myself a Margarita (rocks and salt) and caught up on emails, Instagram and Twitter feeds. Nothing to do but wait.
I meandered over to my gate around 6:45 to see the flight attendant being yelled at by an older gentleman, which I interpreted to mean we were delayed. This was a small flight, a commuter plane with only 7 seats, and many of us had shared the flight out that morning at 6am, so we nodded and rolled our eyes at one another over our misfortune, but settled in until the next update.
Fast forward an hour and the flight attendant slowly walked over to a few of us to let us know the flight was probably going to be canceled, it was 8:30pm. She told us our options were to rent a car and drive home at our own expense or stay and they’d pay for our hotel rooms then rebook us on the Monday flight out. Monday. As in not the next day. As in commuter flights are for business days, not weekends, so this carrier did not operate on weekends. UUgghhhhhh.
It’s a 5 ½ -6 hour drive from Indy to Pittsburgh, and I wasn’t sure I could make that drive safely. I’d been up since 4am that morning, and this drive meant I’d be pulling into my driveway at 4am the next morning. Two of the guys I’d been on the flight with that morning were telling the flight attendant they were going to rent a car to drive home, and I knew they were as tired as I was since we’d all been on that 6am flight out. In a moment of lapsed judgement, I said “Well my company will pay for my car rental, and since we are all going to the Pittsburgh airport, how about we all drive together and share the drive so we make it in one piece.” As soon as I said it I realized that I’d not properly evaluated the cost/benefit of my proposal, which was reinforced with doubt when both guys and the flight attendant looked at me with wide eyes and said “Are you sure?” “Yep!” I said, “Let’s go.”
We jump in the Chevy Traverse at National Car Rental, and as my new friends Dave and Mark got in, I said “You guys aren’t axe murders, right?” Without missing a beat, Dave said “I guess you’ll find out.” Not cool Dave, not cool. The only reason I didn’t freak out, was because I overheard him telling his wife not five minutes earlier that a “Nice girl offered to rent the car. Yes, she seems normal.” My text to my husband stating that I rented a car with two guys and was driving home, was met with a frantic “KATE! WTF?” response and an immediate call. I assured him that they seemed normal and that I’d keep my phone on me at all times.
I took the first leg and proceeded to ask my passengers a million questions. Dave, it turns out, was an ER Doctor and Mark was an airplane mechanic who’d just come off a year touring with the Good Year blimp. I probably couldn’t have asked for two better passengers on a rainy 6 hour drive. One to save our lives if we crash, and another to save the car if it broke down. Ok, this was going to be fine. Dave plugged in his phone and queued up his “driving music” a.k.a Journey, and Mark took off his boots and relaxed in the back. We were like old friends on an awkward and exhausting road trip.
We talked politics, kids, marriage, and vacations. We learned that Dave married his grade-school sweetheart and was at Temple Med School while I was at SJU undergrad; we lived a block from one-another in Manayunk. We learned that Mark was amicably separated from his wife and one of his favorite parts about traveling with the Good Year blimp was the babes it got him in bars. By the time we pulled into the Pittsburgh airport it was 2:15am. We’d all heard each other snore, we’d shared some snacks at a gas station somewhere in the middle of Dayton, Ohio, and we’d laughed at the absurdity of what we were doing. We parted ways, not knowing each other’s last names.
So, to Dave the Doctor in Hermitage and Mark the mechanic in Wheeling, thank you for not being axe murderers, and thank you for getting me home safely.
Journey on, Janes.