Yay! The return of an old favorite! I know from watching the stats that the MMS has always been a popular feature at The Chronicles. It has been since the Yahoo days when it first started. I can't say every Monday for sure, but my promise is that I'm going to try to do it more often than not.
There is a little bit of a prelude to this week’s Mug story. You see, this week is one I need to tell myself as much as I want to share it. It’s been a cloudy Monday, cloudy internally. It started out cloudy outside after the torrential rains last night, but there was some evening sun later in the day. But inside, I’ve been cloudy.
They day started off with a ride in a wheelchair. I seldom enjoy those. David and I went to tour a nursing facility. Whenever it is that whatever work needs done on my back is done, I’ll likely need to spend a month or so in a nursing home to rehabilitate. Looking isn’t deciding and it’s not signing papers. It IS something I can do to feel like I am an active part in all this. I HAVE to be part of it all. Control freak? Yeah, I’ve been called that, but it’s better than being helpless or a victim!
I love my husband dearly and he did what needed to be done for the image sake of us both. Wheelchairs are okay because I power them and I control my movement, which I can’t do so well walking just now. However, in a public situation, especially one where you’re touring a nursing home, your significant other who is helping you check the place out is “supposed” to help by pushing the wheelchair. If he didn’t, the woman giving us the tour would have. ---sigh---
So we took a look around and asked questions, heard the spiel and then went home. They have WiFi and I can use my laptop plugged in to the outlet by the bed or bring it in to a few different places to do my school work. Perfect. That was the reason that this semester had to be online. What’s NOT cool is no private rooms. I kinda LIKE my alone time and my privacy. I like my time I have alone without my husband, so I’m really disappointed that there is not a choice about living with a stranger for a few weeks. The last nursing home I was at was where Grandma was, so I envisioned a private room with a sitting area, a mini fridge and a sink with a private bath. This place is pretty much a hospital with carpet, like the nursing home my great-grandmother was in, but with carpet. When I was envisioning the private room with an almost studio apartment feel, I was thinking, “relax, heal, rebirth.” He hospital feel with a stranger living with me makes me think, “work fast and heal enough to get out.” I was walking better when I got out in the first vision. They do let visitors bring in a cat carrier! That means David can bring one of the kids every now and then when he visits so I miss them a little less and they don’t think I’ve abandoned them. Up until today, missing the cats and them forgetting me was my biggest worry looking ahead. Now the living with a stranger thing is rattling me.
This is where I need to hear the Mug Shot…
Monday Mug Shot
On a Friday morning in April, 1998, I got up early to catch a first flight of the day to Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first of several things for me. It was my first time flying alone. I took my first taxi ride alone and it was my first all-day job interview, including having lunch with a couple of the managers. I had my big briefcase packed with resumes, a copy of my demo tape and the one pocket that could have fit the laptop computer I didn’t have at the time, fit an extra pair of nylons, my makeup bag and a change of underwear. Grandma always told me to never go out of town, even for a day without a change of clothes. Well, it wasn’t a big enough pocket for a full change of clothes, so I packed the “essentials.”
I checked in with Northwest and went to my gate. I’m always early, especially with interviews, so I had some time to sit at the gate and be nervous. My Interview was for a news graphics position with WSB, ABC’s affiliate in Atlanta. This was my dream. Oh, to get the job and work my way up starting my network career in Atlanta, it was going to be a day to remember forever. And it was.
The pilot came on the PA to let us know we’d be landing in Atlanta soon. It was raining when the plane landed and pulled into the gate. After deplaning, I went to the front of the airport and called my contact at WSB, as I was instructed, so they could send a cab.
I don’t recall a lot about the conversation, except that I admitted I was a little nervous and the cabbie told me I’d do fine. I also remember him voicing concern about the rain as we passed Turner Field because the Braves were home that weekend. When we got to WSB, I tipped the cabbie and went in. The all day fun had begun.
The rain persisted. My interview day included meeting lot s of people in creative services. The actual interview part was delayed and I “job shadowed” one of the graphics people who told me a little about the software they used and what all the various graphics positions entailed. The delay in the interview part 2 was because I was interviewing for a news position and there was news happening. The big news was the weather. There was thunder and high winds and tornado watch.
At midday, I had the interview part of the day. The creative services manager asked what I’d like from the menu she handed me for lunch. Yanno, in school, they always told us to politely refuse when asked if you’d like something to drink before an interview because that something to drink could sabotage you. They never thought about an all-day interview in school! I mean, you can’t not eat All day and no one expects you to! I ordered a penne with an alfr4do sauce. It was a local restaurant that I knew well and I knew that it was a dish I’d like. I figured that not liking and not eating what was ordered for me would be worse than a glass of water could ever be at an interview. So I had lunch with the creative services director and the news manager with the station manger stopping by to meet me during lunch too. Then the interview part one commenced.
We went back in to the news room later where things were abuzz with breaking news of storm damage and an unconfirmed suburban tornado. It was exciting watching the busy crew and it made me really want to be part of it. During a break, I got a few more questions and met a few more people coming in for afternoon shifts. I enjoyed the people I was talking with that would be my peers if I got the job and knew I could enjoy working with them.
As it was time for me to leave, to return to the airport to catch my plane back to Detroit, a call was made to confirm if there were weather delays. It was hinted that if they needed more time with me, travel could book me a later flight. I was glad they didn’t think that was necessary because honestly, I was getting quite tired. Being under the microscope all day can take the energy out of you! They called me a cab and sent me back to the airport. It was dark and rainy but I remember that the lights inside were on at Turner Field, like they were hoping, maybe… The cabbie dropped me off in front of the main doors at the airport and my time in Atlanta on WSB’s radar was done.
It wasn’t quite 5:30, so I didn’t call home since Mom would be just getting home from work and Pop wouldn’t be home yet. I got a cappuccino and a pastry and walked to my gate and had a seat. The area was getting close to full as it was not long before boarding time. It was still raining pretty hard with lightning and out plane wasn’t in yet. Then a flash, I watched lightening hit the runway with a simultaneous loud crack and for a brief moment the concourse went dark! There was much commotion and surprised exclamations as people wondered out loud what had happened with the power. It seemed to be raining harder, you could hardly see anything on the tarmac.
Then over the loud speaker and on the monitors, flights diverted, flights canceled, including my flight!
Now there’s a special first, I’d never been on a canceled flight before, a delayed one, one that got changed to a different plane, but never canceled. A little while later it gets better! I went to the desk to see about changing my flight, actually to just ask, “so what do I do?” There were no more flight to Detroit with any room that night. That little old bolt of lightning shut down one of the country’s largest hubs for just a half hour or so, but it crippled it for the weekend! The best they could offer me was 8am Saturday morning. So, I guessed I’d be sleeping in the airport.
But I met another woman, a bit younger than me, traveling on business. Her business was farther south from Atlanta and she didn’t know the city well, but she had a company card for travel. We talked a little, where we were from, why we were in Atlanta, getting to know you things. She wanted to get a room since she couldn’t do better than the same flight I got for the next day and see if her husband could drive up to Detroit to get her since a connecting flight to Indianapolis wouldn’t’ be until much later after that flight got in. Rooms anywhere near the airport were full already and she offered that if I would lend my knowledge of Atlanta, she’d pay for the room if I wanted to share it. After the all-day interview and then how muggy the airport had gotten with the rain and all the stranded people, a shower sounded great. We ended up taking the subway a ways, back into the center of the city. We both showered, then got pizza and talked some more before getting some sleep.
In the morning, the rain had let up and the street was just breathtaking with blooming dogwoods. I’d been to the city I wanted to call home every time of the year but the spring. We went to check-in and were told the flight was delayed until 12:40 because there was no crew! My friend in crisis didn’t want to delay getting home any more than she already had part because she didn’t want to have to keep calling her husband to let him know there was another delay in picking her up and part because it was the end of a 2-week business trip and wanted to see him! She rented a car to drive back to Indy. She offered that if I want to go along she’d give me the car in Indianapolis and let me return it in Detroit, which was generous, but since our fight was eventually going to get to where my car was, I declined When I did officially check-in to the now delayed flight, they bumped me up to first class!
So I got another cappuccino, I knew where all the cappuccino places at Hartsfield were by the end of the two days, and laughed at myself. There I sat in the same suit I had on yesterday, modest, but still 1 3/4'” pumps without nylons thinking that if I had tennis shoes, leggings and a t-shirt, I’d book and evening flight and go to the Braves game. When I told Grandma about that she smiled and said, “told a so! You ALWAYS bring spare clothes when you fly.”
The woman I sat next to in first class and I talked a little about the weather, everyone talked about the weather. We had to laugh, had to crack jokes. The announcement was that due to scheduling and the weather, etcetera, there would be no snacks on coach. BUT in first class, we still got drinks and a meal. It was 2:00PM, but lunch on our originally scheduled for 8AM plane, was cheerios! We got into Detroit as the later afternoon sun was in the sky and I retrieved my car from its overnight $tay in the short term lot and headed home.
So you see, the unexpected, challenges and sharing space with strangers is not like something I haven’t done before.