Among the list of things I never want to experience again, getting stuck in an airport overnight is damn near the top. It’s right below pregnancy, which is just above having my brain surrounded by a fortress of mucus. This is what happened a couple of weeks ago when I was stranded at the airport due to inclement weather.

Weather wasn’t the reason I had to spend the night sick in the airport. It was American Airlines’ poor customer service. You see, when flights are delayed due to weather, it’s considered an “act of God” and therefore not the airline’s problem. However, when the gate attendant updates the departure in increments of an hour at a time until the flight crew is no longer viable, “timed-out” as they called it, the flight must then be cancelled. That certainly is not an act of God but one of poor planning. The Devil’s in the details, don’t ya know.

Pushing back the departure time for hours then cancelling the flight altogether at 2a.m. when there are no rental cars and no hotel rooms is ludicrous. Of course, they “know we have a choice when flying” and so thanked us for our business with an invitation to take a spot on the floor next to any stranger and make ourselves comfortable.

All that to say, I missed the last few Friday Fictioneers because it seems there is no end to the number of people who have no problem wasting my time, but I’ll save that rant for another day. Suffice to say incompetence abounds through space and time in workplaces everywhere.

Another Never Ending Story

In the vast expanse of the universe, there are large pockets of time. In one of them, there was once an enormous pocket watch. One day, or was it night? Yes, night, a dark and stormy night, and on that treacherous night, lightning streaked and thunder rolled for what seemed like an eternity. Then CRACK! The chain snapped and the pocket watch fell to earth. A thousand days and nights had come and gone without so much as a tic toc, but ever since that epic moment of impact, time wasters have roamed the earth without a minute to spare.

Thanks for reading. More Friday Fictioneers are here. Thanks to Jennifer Pendergast for this week’s prompt and Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who has a thing or two to say about time.

29 thoughts on “The Rusted Bucket List

  1. Oh how I empathize! It is a joke amongst my friends, that none of them will fly with me… given my recent travel woes! Sometimes, I HATE all airlines, though they bring me to the places i want to be. I do love Louis CK’s skit “Everything’s Amazing,” about this… but FU American Airlines. I hear you girlfriend! All of that, to also say that I loved this witty story. It resonates and makes me smile. xo

  2. Your rant was the perfect introduction. I feel ya.

  3. Perfect!

    You have my complete sympathy on overnights in airports, done it more than once.

  4. Michael Wynn says:

    That’s a great take on the prompt. Time is such a fantastic concept with a wealth of ways to interpret it and you’ve found another one. Brilliant

  5. Lake Writer says:

    Absollutely wonderful concept. And such a smooth read.

  6. I’ve never been a fan of air travel much and this post is a good reminder why. Not that I’ve ever been stuck overnight in an airport, mind you. But it does bring to mind the great scene in “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” that leads to Neil Page and Del Griffin shacking up in a cheap motel together overnight.

  7. yarnspinnerr says:

    This is very ingenious. Loved the read.

  8. So that’s how all those time wasters got here. (Great story)

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Yep, they just appeared out of thin air. 😁

  9. Dear StepHonie,

    Such an eloquent piece of frustration. Well written. The only thing I can add to sympathetic hugs and shared ire is a little twisted smile as I whisper in your ear, “At least you’re not pregnant.”

    So well done.



    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Dear Twisted Whisperer,

      Bwahhaha! That would have been a bad time.

      Timing is everything,


  10. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Sorry for your experience, Stephanie, it sounds awful. On a brighter note, your story reminded me of what a friend of mine is fond of saying: A watch is evidence of the Watchmaker.

    Happy FF,

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      It’s just one thing on a list. The older I get, the longer the list.

  11. Sandra says:

    One good way to get rid of your frustrations is to write about them. I feel for you. There is nothing worse than a long day’s night in an airport lounge. Loved your response.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Thanks, Sandra. I suppose a list of frustrations side by side with a list of things for which I should be grateful, as Rochelle pointed out, is one way to kill time in an airport lounge a.k.a. the terminal. HA!

  12. Dale says:

    US Airways ain’t no better and will NEVER get my business again, I can promise you!
    What a horrid experience you went through… on the bright side, muse for this great short story!

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      I thought my head was going to explode. Certainly this is where the phrase, “there’s no place like home” originated. Thanks, Dale.

      1. Dale says:

        Seriously… I wrote an FF on part of our troubles…

        1. HonieBriggs says:

          Air travel is for the birds.

  13. rgayer55 says:

    Damn, I almost pressed the Big Red Shiny Button. It would have likely wasted two hours of my time and forced me to sleep on cold hard concrete under an interstate overpass during a snow storm while blaming the entire incident on God. Whew, that was close.

    I’d like to find one of those large pockets of time and immerse myself in it for two or three decades. Hopefully, it would put the aging process on hold too. Wouldn’t that be nice.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Go ahead, Russell, press the button. You deserve a break.

  14. neilmacdon says:

    Revenge is a dish best served in eloquent prose

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      I suppose, if anyone has time to read it.

  15. acflory says:

    -giggles- Oh,very nice, Ms Briggs. 😀 I love that ‘time wasters have roamed the earth without a minute to spare.’ 😀

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      I’ve seen it so often, people doing nothing somehow have no time to appropriately communicate with customers/co-workers. Thanks, Meeks.

      1. acflory says:

        Yeah. Having worked in corporate, I’ve seen it too. 🙂

  16. Carrie Rubin says:

    Oh boy, that sounds miserable. Flying is frustrating enough as it is. Add what you went through and it’s liable to make us bonkers.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      It is frustrating, and it really shouldn’t be. I think one of the problems is that customer service is reactionary rather than a standard practice. We totally missed out on the time when air travel was “glamorous”. HA!

      1. Ah yes – it certainly isn’t now!

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