At the Airport

At the Airport

written by Nan E. Fagan

As soon as she stepped off of her flight from San Francisco, Sharon Zelinski, a happily-unmarried and childless software sales representative, grabbed her laptop started working on it feverishly. As she was typing away, she heard this announcement:

“Ladies and Gentlemen: Flight # 464 to LaGuardia Airport in New York has been delayed due to bad weather. Once again. Flight # 464 to LaGuardia Airport has been delayed due to bad weather. We will keep you posted as to when the flight will leave. Thank you for your patience.”

“What do you mean this flight is delayed? How long is the delay?” Sharon demanded as she marched up to the counter.

“I really don’t know, ma’am. There are thunderstorms in the area.” the counter agent replied. “We can’t control the weather, but we’re watching it very closely.”

“Oh that’s just great! I’ve got an important meeting in New York, and now the flights delayed!” Sharon thundered. She grabbed her cell phone and called her boss, Angela Allen, in San Francisco.

Angela, it’s me, Sharon. Listen, I’m here in Chicago.  My flight’s delayed because of the weather in New York. They don’t know when it’s going to leave. I’ll give John Williams a call, and then call you right back. Talk to you soon. Bye.”

Suddenly, a young black woman with two small children: a two-year-old and a newborn, both crying at the same time, sat down right next to Sharon. She was fuming on her cell phone. “You know you the fatha! So why do you wanna play me? I ain’t playin witchu now! You gonna take care of these kids! I’ll see ya on The Maury Show!” Suddenly, the woman snapped. She smacked them both right across their faces. “Shut up and stop that cryin! Y’all gettin on my nerves!”

Sharon turned to the mother and thundered, “Excuse me, but could you please quiet those kids down? I’m trying to working on a proposal! They’re very distracting!”

“Listen sista, you just mind your own business, ya hear!” the mother thundered at Sharon. “These here are my kids, I can do what I want with them!”

“Well excuse me!” Sharon exclaimed back. “But I have an important proposal to finish! That crying is distracting me! I really don’t have time for this! I hope that you go to jail for what you did to those kids! Babies! Kids! Yuck! I’m glad I never had them! And I’m not your “sista” either!”

Sharon grabbed her laptop and walked over to another to work on her proposal. “You’d better get outta my face there sista!” the mother thundered out. “I’ll bet your motha whupped you for cryin! You don’t tell me how to raise my kids!”

After sitting in the terminal for more than an hour, still feverishly typing away, she then heard this announcement:

“Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please. Flight # 464 to LaGuardia Airport has been cancelled due to the weather conditions in New York. I repeat: Flight # 464 to LaGuardia has been cancelled due to the weather conditions in New York.”

“Oh, no! This is crazy!” Sharon freaked out. “I’ve got a very important meeting in New York, and now the flight’s been cancelled! This doesn’t make any sense! I’m going to see if I can get another flight out!”

She once again marched up to the ticket counter. “I’ve got to get to New York right now!” she demanded. “Is there another flight going out today?”

“I’m sorry Ma’am.” the counter agent responded. “There are no flights into New York. We checked the weather reports there, and the rain’s not letting up. We do have one that leaves tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock, but you’ll have to be put on standby. We also have some seats available on our 11 o’clock flight.”

“Tomorrow! I need to be in New York tonight!” Sharon thundered! ”I have an important meeting there tomorrow!”

“Ma’am, we can’t control over the weather.” the agent responded. “I know you have an important meeting in New York, but it’s not worth risking your life. We can put you up in a hotel here tonight free of charge.”

“I’m sorry.” replied Sharon. “I didn’t mean to get angry. Let me call my boss and see what she says. Thank you anyway.”

She pulled out her cellphone and called her boss again. “Hey Angela, it’s me, Sharon. Listen, they cancelled my flight. There’s no flights out until tomorrow. They’re putting me up in a hotel here tonight and then I’ll get a flight out tomorrow. I guess I’ll have to call John and tell him. In the meantime, I’ll see if any of the other airlines have a flight out today. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.”

Sharon then quickly checked her computer to see if there were any other flights out. “Ah! No such luck! I’ve got to call Angela again.” she murmured to herself as she frantically dialed her cellphone. But then finally, she got a hold of Angela.

“Oh! Angela! Thank God!” Sharon exclaimed. “Did you get my messages?”

“No, I didn’t.” replied Angela. “I was in a meeting all day long. What’s going on?”

Finally, Sharon was crying hysterically. “Oh Angela! My flight to New York was cancelled because of the weather there. I’m stuck here in Chicago! I know how much this deal with John Williams means to you because I worked so hard to get it. Here I am: the top salesperson in the company, and I can’t get to New York to meet with this very important client. If I lose this deal, this company will be bankrupt!”

“Calm down, Sharon.” replied Angela. “It’s not the end of the world. You’re being way too sensitive. We haven’t gone bankrupt yet. Just check and see if you can get a flight out tomorrow. You’re not the only one in the company that’s had a flight delayed. Remember I got stuck in Boston last winter for three days because of a terrible blizzard. And how about Joe Jones? He got stuck in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. He had to sleep in the Louisiana Superdome. You can’t control the weather. What did the airline say?”

“They’re going to put me up in a hotel here tonight.” retorted Sharon. “I checked all the other airlines and there are no flights into New York. There is a flight going out tomorrow morning at eleven o’clock. The other one at 8 o’clock is on standby. I’ll see if I can’t get on that 11 o’clock flight. Well, I’m going to find where I’m going to stay for the night. Thank God the weather here in Chicago is nice. I’ll give you a call and keep you posted. Oh thanks a lot, Angela; you’re a doll.”

“OK, Sharon.” Angela responded. “You have a safe trip, you hear. Just tell the airline to send the bill to Accounting and we’ll take care of it.”

Sharon finally let out a sigh of relief. “O thank God! I feel better already. I feel better already. I made a mountain out of a molehill! In a way, I’m glad they cancelled that flight! It’s better to be safe than sorry. Well, it’s time for me to go check into a hotel for the night. And thanks a lot, Angela. I really I appreciate it. And I’ll keep in touch and let you know what’s going on. Ok, Angela; talk to you soon. Bye.”

Nan E. Fagan is a Philadelphia-area native. Her opinion letters and personal essays have appeared in The News of Delaware County, The Delaware County Daily Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Main Line Times, People Magazine, Working Woman Magazine, The Star, and The National Enquirer. Han’s personal essay, The Other Side of the Sixties, won Honorable Mention in Byline Magazine’s Personal Essay contest in December, 2006. Hobby Farms Magazine also published some Green Acres trivia questions in its July/August, 2007 issue.  One of her short stories, From Africa to Hawaii via Brooklyn,was just published in the August, 2013 issue of Conceit Magazine. Another short story, Escaping the Convent For Hollywood, was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Fresh Literary Magazine.

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