We No Longer Live in the First World
I know I haven't posted in a while, except to solve the various personality conflicts that arose in the comments-section of my last post. Truth is, I've been busy with grades and finals and the inevitable "trail of tears" that follows final-exam period.
I was supposed to fly to Denver this morning for the holiday. But then Denver was deluged with 22 inches of snow. And because airports are no longer staffed with people capable of managing such a crisis, the earliest new flight I could get to Denver (mine was canceled right away) was for MONDAY. MONDAY!
I'd like to write about something other than cancer for just a moment. Humor me.
I've been flying for quite a while. I also grew up in Wyoming, and I know that big nasty snowstorms are not a new thing in the Rocky Mountain west. I remember, in particular, flying from Albany to Denver in December of 1996 when there was a similarly awful snowstorm. I remember seeing the snowplows on the runway, dozens and dozens of them, as my plane landed -- on time!
I called Delta Airlines last night after learning online that my flight today had been canceled. After waiting on hold for an hour (truly, it was 65 minutes), I finally got to speak to probably the one telephone agent Delta still employs -- in India, for sub-standard wages, I imagine. This friendly woman explained to me that "this is not Delta's fault, it's the weather in Denver."
Well, true enough, a snow storm like this one is going to set things back a bit. Understood. But, on the other hand, it IS Delta's fault, and the fault of all of the other airlines who, after 9/11, cut their airport staffs down to the bone. They replaced the people who used to staff the counters (the ones you could schmooze, if you were like me, into a roomy Exit-isle seat, or even an upgrade) with kiosks that dumb American travelers find "convenient." And I'd wager that those people lucky enough to fly into Denver today (all 20 of them) will not see the convoy of snow plows that I saw back in 1996. Maybe 3 snow plows and a man with a shovel.
The federal government, of course, refuses to regulate any of this mess.
So, thanks to the fact that America has been down-scaled to a developing nation, my Christmas plans are all screwed up. I moved my chemo treatment up two days, and all for naught. I am now going to miss Handel at the Denver Symphony, and all of the visits I counted on will now be condensed.
Delta, meanwhile, is still bankrupt, and if you want efficient travel on this planet, where people can still manage a crisis, you have to go to India, or China.