Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Oh Canada

Last week I got a reprieve from the Dallas heat. My job took me to Toronto and wow, what a beautiful city. If you've been a long time reader, you remember Corralling Cats. The Toronto meeting was another in the saga of the Global Data Synchronization Network standards development. It was so exciting, that's it's taken me days to get over the meeting to be able to write.


But, there was an element of excitement. You see, I was "out of the country" when the UK terrorist ring was discovered and broken up. I had the luck to wake up Thursday morning in my hotel to hear of the possibility of flights blowing up over the Atlantic.

I was scared. When 9/11 happened, I was home. My only family member traveling was my mother in law, who was thankfully, on Southwest Airlines. She arrived safely home that fateful September.

Last week, I monitored the internet all day to understand what I could and couldn't board with. And, whether or not I would be able to fly. My mom, Pam and Lorenzo were all trying to contact me and ensure I was ok. People at work, were calling and e-mailing me, also worried.

We broke our meeting early because the Toronto airport said we should arrive at the airport 4 hours before our flight. After two hours in line and getting through customs, I found many of the colleagues who had been at the meeting, at the bar. We re-convened our meeting in a much more casual setting. After a toast the the people who discovered and prevented this tragedy, we all dived into our 9/11 stories. Some of colleagues had been on the road and drove home. One had been in a hotel next to the towers the night before. She had an early morning meeting and got safely away before the tragedy.

I was here in Dallas, working for the general. (General Mills) I remember wondering where everyone was. I had been at my desk at 7 and nobody was around. I walked toward the noise, (our conference room) and saw the second plane hit. My productivity for the day was obviously over. The general let us go home early to be with our families that day. I remember holding Alex and thinking that our world would never be the same.

In some ways, it is the same. In some ways, it's not.

Travel seems to be rebounding fast since the actual tragedy was avoided. I can tell you boarding is much faster. There isn't as much advantage to having airline status, though, if everyone is checking their bags. There was plenty of overhead space on my flight home. There were entirely empty bins. But hey, I'll gladly check my bag for safety.

Heck, I'd fedex my bags to my destination if required!

If you have to travel, remember hydrate first! And please, be safe.

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