I will admit, sometimes I really get myself into a jam. Of course, my best incident is the Metamucil fiasco (A high fibre drink) which you can read here. But, yesterday was another quality entry into the journal where I really screwed up.
I was in meetings in North America with clients and they were going great. As I sat in the meetings I felt a sense of calm knowing that my flight was leaving at 1AM. For once, I was not rushing off to the airport. It was going to be a nice leisurely pace to the airport, a bite of dinner, I was going to connect with an old friend who happened to be in the same time zone and the slowly make my way to the plane. Oh, I was very wrong.
Turns out that I had not read my calendar correct. I have my assistant put my flights into the calendar, with the right time zones and all the required data so that I do not screw it up. The problem is, when I first looked at my agenda as I disembarked from the UK, I had not changed my times zone. 1AM is actually 5PM pacific and I had not looked at it since I landed. Why would I? I had looked when I landed. It was 1AM and even though the little voice in my head said ‘1AM, that seems like a weird time to leave?’ – the other voice said ‘Yes, it is. But they did shift the flight out by a few hours so they must be trying to get more flights in’.
After all – why double check? It is much easier to simply rationalize it in your brain. Facts are for sissies.Chuck Norris wouldn’t check facts.
The meetings come to an end. They were great. So I open my laptop and Outlook starts chirping wildly and alarms start popping off:
‘Drive to Vancouver Airport’ OVERDUE 3 HOURS
‘Check into Airport’ OVERDUE 1 HOUR
Oh no. I check the calendar which is now on Pacific time – and there it is – you have 1 hour to get to the airport. You are 220 miles away. Good luck with that..
I feel ill.
I say good-bye to the attendees and head to the phone, ‘OK, we can get you on the Ottawa flight at 8AM tomorrow and then into Heathrow for a Saturday arrival’ GROAN. An 11 hour flight just added 24 hours.
‘Is there nothing else?’ ‘Sorry sir. Everything is sold out’.
So I start the despondent drive to the airport (which takes longer than usual due to traffic) thinking that I just added 20 hours to my trip. But I keep wondering, is there another way. The motto of ‘5 NOS to get to a YES’ kicks in. I call them back ‘Is there a way you get me to London faster? Possible?’ After discussion we come to a solution …
‘There is a flight to Toronto that arrives 6AM and then a connector to London but the Toronto is oversold by 5.’
‘What are my chances?’
‘Alright, please put me on standby, I will try it.’
And so I proceed to hang out in the airport for many hours to get on a plane that is oversold with the chance of not getting on and being stuck there for a night (with the hotel that is attached to the airport being sold out). It was a bit tense .. but I got the LAST seat at the back of the plane that is reserved for the attendants thanks to a lot of smiling at the check-in lady.
I am now sitting in Toronto with a triple espresso and still smiling. Next time I will double check my calendar (LOL).