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December 29, 2010

I watch a little of Good Morning America each morning. Right now, the news is full of the recent blizzard that has essentially crippled the Northeast, especially the airports. There is footage of the airports filled with cots of fitfully sleeping people, lines stretching back for hours, phone lines jammed with an impersonal and frustrating “there is a high call volume” message, and flight boards lit up with the word “Cancelled.”

Over 7,000 flights have been cancelled, stalling close to a million passengers. Most will linger restlessly in their respective airports for five or more days, waiting in vain for the rare gem of a stand-by flight, others resigned to rescheduling far in advance.

Hotel bills for those fortunate enough to both acquire one and be able to get to one will mount, increasing the frustration and anxiety.

I feel for these people, I really do. It’s the culmination of my April Rome trip all over again, although we were stalled by a steady stream of volcanic ash and not snow.

It’s interesting though…in watching the footage, I have to say that I believe those of us stuck in Europe managed to embrace more a spirit of comradery than the me-against-the-world feeling that seems prevalent in our American airports. There are reports of rushing the boarding lines and scenes of irate, arguing passengers. We were equally frustrated in Rome—don’t get me wrong. Equally (or perhaps even more so) concerned with how to get back to our families from literally an ocean away. Anxious over the idea that a new sweep of ash would stall us yet longer.

Rome’s Fiumcino, though, was characterized by weary, rueful smiles, conversation to pass the time, and information whenever someone learned something new.

I feel certain that our own American airports must have a lot of the same. Perhaps the news is merely being true to form and reporting the most outrageous, disgusting behavior first, and situations such as this certainly bring out the worst in people. It’s a shame, though, to leave the world with this impression of American travelers.

We are so much more than the sum of our aggravations and discouragement.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 29, 2010 10:59 am

    It’s really all about attitude, isn’t it?

  2. December 29, 2010 11:12 am

    J–yup…and attitude is all about choice, most times.

  3. December 29, 2010 5:06 pm

    I agree with you Lori, our news seems to always focus on doom, death and destruction instead of showing how we can come together in our frustrations and rise above the aggravation.

    Awesome post! 🙂

  4. Anaise permalink
    December 31, 2010 9:29 am

    You’ve left me wondering what I would be doing if it were me.

  5. January 1, 2011 11:47 am

    Several years ago I was driving with a brand new baby (and I mean brand new) and my oldest who was 7 or 8 at the time. We were headed to my sisters when we came to a complete stop on I-15. No one was going anywhere. We didn’t know it but a tanker had wrecked and caught on fire and had completely closed down the freeway. We sat there for HOURS. Hot afternoon and into the night. I had a few apple pies with me. No cell phone. It was amazing to me at the comraderie (sp?) that took place. Those that had cell phones passed them around to the rest of us so we could make calls. Those of us with food started sharing, people got out of their cars, we all laughed and conversed. A difficult situation became quite fun because of everyone’s attitude. We were all stuck, there was nothing we could do, so we all made the best of it.

    I missed an important milestone in my sister’s families lives but my son and I still look back on that as a, “remember the time we were stuck on the freeway? ” time where people came together and were positive.

  6. Anaise permalink
    January 27, 2011 7:07 am

    Lori–where are you?!?!?!

  7. January 27, 2011 8:41 am

    Anaise….awww! Thanks for asking. I’m still here–sort of! I’ll write a post–lots for a comment. 😉

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