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David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

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Fri. Nov. 11, 2006: Missed the flight

Fatigue is evident at the start of the journey.
David sees signals of overload in missing his flight to Helsinki via Frankfurt.

(by David): It looks like I’ve really maxed out on stress. My colleague in my day job said that I always look like I’m not under stress, but I guess I hide it better than most. I know when I’m tired, and try to watch out. On Thursday morning, when I drove into the office, I pulled into 3 parking spaces, before I decided to choose one. I got into the client office late — after making a stop at our downtown office to pick up printouts — and the remaining parking spaces were pretty tight. Since I was tired, I decided that I shouldn’t take any chances, and gave up on 3 parking spaces before I found a space that wasn’t so tight.

On Friday, in packing, I seemed to lose sense of time. I know that it usually takes 4 to 5 hours to pack for a trip of 2 weeks to Finland, if I don’t do any packing in advance. I got up late (having stayed up until 4 a.m. finishing up a report, and then puttered away at things that needed to be done: re-registering on the company’s medical plan (on the last day of registration), and checking in with DLH (since people in Finland will ask about him).

Diana picked up Mary — they were planning to go shopping out the direction of the airport, after dropping me off — and I was still packing. With a 5:15 p.m. flight, I had planned to leave around 2:30 p.m., knowing that if I left around 3:00 p.m., that I would probably still be okay. By 3:30 p.m., I was throwing things into the suitcase, and we were rushing to leave.

And … by 3:30 p.m., we were hitting rush hour traffic. I’ve been doing the trip to the airport almost every day for the past 8 weeks — the client office is right across the street from the airport — and Mary said that it was clear that I was taking all of the right side routes to get out of traffic — but it still took about 40 minutes to get airport. When I got to the Air Canada counter at about 4:30, the check-in clerk said that I was arriving about 20 minutes after the flight had closed, and that I would have to rebook.

I walked across to the ticket desk. In line, I phoned AmEx, and they said that the alternative flight at 7:15 to Frankfurt was full, so I might have to go the next day. When I got to the ticket counter, the check-in clerk was very nice, and said that I could get the last seat on the flight to Munich. I’ve taken that route before, so I said yes. She checked with some other reservation clerks, and put stickers on my tickets. Since I was booked on Air Canada for the whole trip — yes, the Germany-Finland legs are actually Lufthansa, but they’re Air Canada codeshares — she said that Air Canada usually charges for ticket changes, but that she wouldn’t charge me today. I thanked her profusely.

At the other end, Annaleena was scheduled to pick me up from the airport, but when I looked at my PDA, I hadn’t updated her phone number from when she was in Sweden. I phoned DLH, and asked if he could call Annaleena. At that point, since the time would have been past midnight in Finland, DLH said that he would phone Annaleena.

As soon as I got on the Toronto-Munich leg of the flight, I put on the eye shades, and went right to sleep. (The plane was full, so I was in upright seating). On the Munich-Helsinki leg, I tried to do some reading, but still fell asleep.

When I arrived at the Helsinki airport, Annaleena wasn’t there. I phoned her, and she said that she had come to pick me up for the original flight, but I wasn’t there. (Sorry). I took a taxi to the hotel, instead.

I’ve been definitely stressed out this past week. I know that DLH has been pretty stressed out recently, but I guess that I was so stressed that I forgot that, and he probably miscalculated the time zones to speak with Annaleena. These are signals that everyone is just too busy.

Postscript, adding injury to stress: As the flight was landing in Munich, the overhead door flew open, and someone’s laptop fell onto my lap. The top of my left thigh hurt initially, and then was okay. After sitting on the Munich-Frankfurt flight, my thigh started to hurt again, and I’ve been walking with a limp. It could have been worse … it could have hit a bone ….

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