Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Kirksville Part 2: Getting home is the only objective.

In my previous post, I described my initial journey to Kirksville. Since I must have done a good job, the responsibility for the second trip out there was in my hands. This was to be probably the worst work experience I have had...but the trip provided pleny of drama to make up for it.

For starters, I was taking a new trainer out there with me on his first trip. This new guy was nice, but was also a "toxic" coworker. The second strike against the odds for this trip was that the training was being broken up at various times to accomodate a Memorial Service, photo shoot, and informational session for the "trainees". You see, I think I mentioned that during the previous year, a plane full of the "trainees" crashed in a bad storm. The university decided that there should be a memorial service for all of the "trainees" to attend, right during the middle of our training sessions.

The third strike against the trip was weather, which hit on the third day of the trip. Remember that truck from the previous trip? Well, that was what I got on this trip as well! So at least that was pleasant. The real adventure started on the morning of our return trip. "It's raining" I think with a touch of obvious sarcasm, "but I've flown in worse than this". What I didn't know was that Kirksville Airport was not equipped with radar used by the planes for flying, specifically taking off and landing, during a rain storm. Well, the plane in from St. Louis couldn't land at the airport, because of the rain, so the airport sent the plane back to St. Louis!

This had a rather negative impact on the trip...namely the airport scrambled to find ways to divert the tens of tens that needed to fly that day. The security agent/baggage handler/ticket agent/farmer's market attender/slightly mannish yet matronly person working the desk that day gave me our options:

1. drive to Springfield and catch a flight to St. Louis...well, there was no practical way of doing this, as the rental was only good for local driving...not to a destination quite possibly
2. drive to St. Louis to catch a flight home
3. drive to Quincy Illinois to catch a flight to St. Louis then back home
4. wait around in Kirksville until the next available flight can land (possibly the next day)

"You see" I started explaining, "we can't drive anywhere, since the rental was only for use in Kirksville. We'd get a fine for doing anything else, so I guess we're stuck here." We weren't alone in this, as other passengers were also stranded. The wife of one of the passengers was still there at the airport, having dropped off her husband. He announces to everyone there that he's "going to risk it and drive to Quincy to fly to St. Louis. If we want to go with him, we're more than welcome..."

My fellow travellers and I looked around, and then 4 of us decided to jump in this guys van, and drive to Quincy. It was about 2 hrs away with no traffic or anything, and we were all jammed up in this guys van. With the exception of the other trainer and I, none of us knew each other, so conversations started off with "So, what were you in Kirksvile for?" This is where the story starts to sound very strange. You see, here are the other travellers:

1. The Driver, or the guy with the van, is a surgeon based in Kirksville who was on his way to some convention...yeah, a surgeon. I was just waiting for him to pull the van off the road and attempt to chop us all up...

2. Passenger #1: a pig farmer from the local area...he just went on and on about his pigs and their local sourced, organic pork!!!

3. Passenger #2: an IT guy working with Time Warner Cable who had been stranded there for 2 days without luggage...he had resorted to buying stuff at Wal-Mart just so he could wear something clean.

4. The other trainer...sitting in his seat with a placid, almost vapid look on his face.

5. Me...oh I just wanted to get home at this point.

Well, we trek across Missouri over the hill country and finally end up at the Mississippi River which we have to cross in order to get to Quincy...we're cutting it close now, but we make it to the airport, and catch our flight home. It was all around one of the weirdest trips I've had. Next up...a new wooden spoon is handed out, and the unveiling of the scoreboard!!

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