Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Complicated Way to Get Back to Ohio

Entry to 4 August 2008:

When I was about 20, I went to my dad with a complex scheme for a trip I’d planned, involving the family car and a lot of different trade-overs and exchanges. My dad listened to my plan, paused for a minute, then said, no doubt from his long experience as an attorney untangling complicated messes for people, “I’m sorry, son, it’s just too complicated. I’m afraid there are too many places where something can go wrong.” Hearing it put that way, I had to admit that my plan was too risky and that I had to give it up.

However, it has always been difficult for me to avoid the temptation to organize elaborate schemes, and so, in the absence of my dad’s wisdom, I concocted a Byzantine way to get Kenneth, Diane and I back from Glasgow and to the places that each of us needed to be. The Plan:

1. On Thursday, Kenneth was to go the airport in Glasgow to fly back to Cleveland, whence he’d flown last May directly after finishing up his semester.
2. Once in Cleveland, Kenneth would stay the night with Brendan and Mayumi.
3. On Friday, we would fly from Glasgow to Detroit.
4. While we were in route to Detroit, Kenneth’s friends Joe and Bethann would drive to Cleveland to pick him up and bring him back to Toledo.
5. Kenneth would then take our car and pick us up from Detroit.
6. Finally, on Saturday morning, we would take Kenneth to the airport to fly to his Go conference in Portland, Oregon, and we would drive to Cleveland to see Brendan and Mayumi.

What really happened was this:
1. On Thursday, Kenneth made it to Cleveland, but his suitcase didn’t.
2. Brendan stayed up late waiting for Kenneth’s suitcase not to arrive.
3. Our flight left Glasgow 4 hours late, missing our connection from Amsterdam to Detroit. There weren’t any seats on later flights, so we ended up being booked on two separate flights to Detroit, me through Boston and Diane through Paris. We spent the night in a rather miserable Holiday Inn near the Schiphol airport, where we got up at 5am (11pm Ohio time) in order to make our separate 8am flights.
4. Kenneth’s suitcase finally showed up at noon on Friday, making Joe and Bethann hours late and leaving Joe’s family short a car, which required them to make other arrangements.
5/6. Before we left Glasgow, we realized that Kenneth now had no one to take him to the Detroit airport, and we had no one to pick us up from the airport. We hastily emailed Kenneth and Brendan with plan B: Kenneth would drive himself to the Detroit airport park it, leave the parking ticket in the car (which they tell you not to do), and phone Brendan with the location of the car before catching his flight to Portland. Two hours later, Diane, after clearing customs, phoned Brendan and got the location. I arrived an hour later and we were able to find the car and drive to Cleveland.

At least Plan B worked, even though Plan A had failed so spectacularly. But throughout the whole process, I kept seeing my dad, smiling and shaking his head. “Too complicated!”


Becky said...

Robert, it's great to have stumbled onto your blog this week and great to know that you and Diane are well and in Ohio for whatever duration. Your Trinity family thinks of you often and keeps you in our prayers.

Marie said...

Hi Robert! Just found your blog through Becky. It IS good to see you in the cyber world. You are often in our thoughts and prayers. Hope the visit is going better than the getting here.