Perspective and Make A Wish

---(from 2009)

I work in California and Dallas Texas (Irving to be specific, but who's counting). I fly to Dallas for a week or two a month to do {Stuff}.

The other day I was on my twice monthly flight from Orange County, California to the Dallas / Ft. Worth International Airport. I dont enjoy this, but it is how I pay the bills.

It had been a long day prior. I had a lot of presentation material to get ready. I was tired. The weekend came and went to fast and Monday morning was not a pretty sight. I packed my red 22" carry on bag and made sure my trusty Dell 620 had all the attachments.

My car was out of gas and I was running late. It was cold outside and had rained a little. I was groggy from not getting enough sleep and my back hurt from sleeping in some John Merrick like position.

Don't get me wrong, these were nothing terrible, I was just internally complaining to myself about the small things in life.

I get to the airport and for some reason American Airlines wouldnt issue me a boarding pass unless I spoke with one of the many, very friendly people at the counter (note, the preceeding line was very sarcastic). It turns out they didnt bill my credit card properly and I had to re-buy my ticket. I'm a little annoyed.

Time goes by, this gets worked out. The security line wasnt bad but my plane was boarding in 15 minutes and I wanted to get something to eat. Which, at the John Wayne / Orange County Airport means McDonalds or starve. Since I know there is no food on the plane. To McDonalds I go.

I get to the gate, people are doing their usual "Stand Around and Wait To Rush The Jetway" when their group is called. I get bumped, pushed and people cut in front of me. Whatever, i've done this before, its expected.

The usual throngs of people on their cell phones are yammering away, the salesmen are making their last pitch for a few hours, the kids are having the same old txt message fest they always do. The same person that always complains about airports is complaining about airports.

I get on the plane in my usual 27f seat (its a 737 if you care, so its the 2nd to last row, window seat). I get this seat because its close to the bathrooms, the exit of the plane if it crashes, I can always store my carry on(s) and if I want a drink I can get up easily and ask for it. Oddly, I have a system going on.

The flight attendants (read: sexy Stews, if you're an Austin Powers fan) check the masses to ensure that no electronic device is on. As you know, your IPod can bring down the plane due to the extreme electro-magnetic interference it causes. Gawd forbid someone uses an electronic Yaghtzee game or we would all die.

The flight is full. I get lucky and there is no one in the middle row. The cooling on the plane isnt working so its much warmer than usual.

We take off and head out east towards Texas and I load Fallout on my laptop (yes, Fallout 1 !!).

Twenty minutes into the flight one of the flight attendants gets on the intercom and says there is a special guest on the flight.

Well this is new, so I actually listen (unlike that whole safety warning video that I havent paid attention to in years).

The message announced is as follows:

"We have a very special guest on the flight today. His name is Christian and he is nine years old. He will be traveling with us today to Texas as part of the Make A Wish Foundation, to join a team of professional storm chasers to hunt for tornados."

For those of you that may not know what that meant, turns out Christian is a nine year old boy with terminal cancer, and this is his dying wish. The plane was silent for a moment then they gave him a standing ovation.

All of a sudden, none of my problems seem of any consequence, my back doesnt hurt, i'm not so tired anymore, the plane isnt really that warm and I wonder what my children are doing at the moment.

Kind of puts things in perspective...