One thing I appreciate about scientists is that they’re willing to let reality shape their beliefs rather than vice versa. If, for instance, they find that every single time they throw an object into the air it falls back down to the ground, they will be perfectly willing to accept an unseen force called gravity and incorporate it into their model of the universe. Of course, some are better at it, or maybe just quicker to adjust and incorporate, than others.
Case in point, the idea of a flat Earth. Ancient travelers, noting how the stars appeared higher or lower in the sky depending on which direction they were heading, and ancient sailors, seeing how approaching mountains seemingly rose from the sea, recognized the reality of a spherical Earth as far back as two-or-three-thousand years ago, and yet, even after astronomers and cosmographers the world over agreed that the Earth was round, there were still people who insisted on clinging to flatness.
My point is that when our observations contradict our beliefs it is the beliefs that must change.
One such belief that was put to the test mightily in my world this past week is the idea that happiness is to be found in the journey not the destination.
The destination, in this case, was a beach on Florida’s Emerald Coast, and the journey, well … the journey was miserable, even though we did a heck of a job keeping our emotions at bay, if I do say so myself.
The mayhem began with an announcement at the airport n saying our flight would be delayed two hours due to heavy thunderstorms in the city where we were scheduled to change planes. When those two hours expired, the agent then announced that the flight was cancelled, as were all remaining flights to our connecting city, on account of the airport was closed.
We figured n no big deal, they’ll just route us through another city, but instead what they did was put up an “800” number, and then close the counter at the gate.
We managed to get a customer service agent on the phone who instructed us that there was nothing at all available that day, not from there or any of the other major airports within a couple-hour drive.
“What about on another airline,” we asked.
“If you can find a flight on another airline, then go ahead and reserve it and we’ll re-book it for you,” is what we were told.
So I stood in line for 20 minutes or so at another airlines’ counter, and found that they had something available, but they wouldn’t reserve it for us, as they said the agents from our original airlines would have to do the rebooking. I called the 800 number again, and they instructed me to get in line at their ticket counter, and have the agent there rebook it. So I got in that line, and waited at least a half-hour only to be told n we can’t do anything for you, to which I replied, “But the person at your 800 number told us you can, and the agent at the counter right over there told us you can,” but still, they insisted, “We can’t.”
So I called the 800 number again, and after the operator said n that doesn’t make any sense, the agent there can take care of this for you, and me moaning and groaning about how unhelpful the staff was at their counter, finally, the person on the phone rebooked us on another airline, out of another airport.
We insisted on getting out that night, even though it would be eleven-and-a-half hours later than planned, because we only had a week vacation, and we had already made a non-refundable payment for our accommodations.
The new plan put us in Florida at six in the morning, on the other side of the state, some 650 miles away from our destination, but one more flight connection would have us in before eight in the morning.
That flight got postponed three hours, and then after those three hours, it got cancelled due to, get this, no crew.
Once again, a mad scramble ensued, only this time we were at the front of the line, with an agent who wanted to help. He managed to get us on a flight that brought us to within 150 miles of our final destination, at which point we rented a car and drove the rest of the way.
We finally arrived at our vacation rental a full 24 hours after we were originally scheduled to leave.
I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that the return trip was not much better, as it took us 15 hours, another night stay in a hotel and two more hours of driving in the morning.
Now, granted, the saying n Happiness is in the journey not the destination - is not a law of nature, but some people spout it out as if it’s absolutely true. In this case, it wasn’t true and I for one am going to be a lot more careful about such broad sweeping statements, no matter how good they sound.
Ron Colone can be reached at email@example.com
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