Do you have any characteristics you don't like about yourself?
For the most part, I like me. I think I'm kind and a hard worker. I try to be a good friend and I can handle work disasters as calmly as a doped out hippie.
(Details on the "Ashley is Awesome" fan club to be provided later)
But there is one trait of mine I don't like at all.
And that's my immediate reaction to certain personal setbacks. It typically goes something like...
Freak out for a few minutes...
Freak out for a few minutes...
......Meltdown for a few more
....and then pull it together and figure it out.
But it's that whole "freak out" and "meltdown" business that bothers me. Because once I'm in the "pull it together" stage, I always feel so dumb.
Prime example? My 9 hour stay in the San Diego Airport a few weeks back.
To set the scene....I flew out for a work trip Monday morning at 6am which, due to the busyness of the Atlanta Airport, translated to a 2am wake-up call. Upon landing I went straight into a three-day stint of all-day client meetings and all-night client dinners, drinks and midnight bedtimes. Thursday morning started at 3am for a trip to the airport to make another 6am flight and a glorious 3pm arrival on Halloween...just enough time for a power nap and a quick change into my Pocahontas costume waiting for me.
I wished adieu to my Boston and New York coworkers and headed towards my terminal with my rolly bag and a window-seat ticket in hand. I endured a booty patdown from a none-too-pleasant TSA agent (it's no party for me either lady) followed by a hand dusting for explosives. Upon my successful departure from security, I snagged a Tru Moo and muffin for airplane snacks and walked right into the check-in line and on to the plane.
Where we sat.
and sat some more.
Until they announced that a light bulb was out....an apparent necessary light bulb. A light bulb that put our flight out of business.
We all shuffled off the plane with our luggage, pillows and offspring trailing behind us to the ticket counter where ticket agents dressed as witches and ghosts and minions awaited us.
I instantly sent out a barrage of woeful texts to my mom, sister and Whitney (sorry Whit...until a Mr. comes along, this is your lot in life).
But it was good news for Atlanta passengers! We would still make our connection through San Antonio. An hour later I was at another gate with a crumpled muffin, half a bottle of Tru moo and a guaranteed aisle seat. Just as my ticket beeped and I was about to cross into the jet bridge, I heard....
"Sooo Sorry to do this to you Atlanta folks but I'm going to need you to all come back to the ticketing counter....you're not going to make your connection."
Cue meltdown....and more texts
Exhaustion, jet lag and, let's be real, a sheer deep desire for my bed and any form of food not prepared in mass had set in.
The only option out of San Diego was a nonstop flight that departed....six hours later, arriving at 9pm. I tried to wheel and deal with the ticketing agent but apparently, they hold no power with the skies.
Cue the pull-it-together stage.
The realization that Halloween plans were down the drain set in.
As did the fact that my "home" for the next 6 hours was an airport with too few seats to fit all the bodies....half of which donned some sort of Halloween attire or makeup.
I grabbed a lean-against spot against a pole in front of "The Counter"....a bustling custom-built burger joint, (I don't care what time zone you're in, burgers at 9am are unacceptable) with my laptop that held approximately 42 minutes of battery life. And whose partner charger cord was packed in my checked bag....a bag that had been getting around like a drunken college girl.....God only knows how many airplanes she was on that morning.
Magically, I made it through.....and six hours later, with my other Atlanta-delayed travelers...we had become a little group of survivors....I boarded the plane with a drained Tru Moo, an empty muffin wrapper and a guaranteed "love seat." (No matter how nice you put it Southwest, the middle seat is a freaking bummer.)
23 hours after my peepers opened in Cali, I was back in Atlanta. Remember when you thought it was fun to stay up all night? Yeah, that goes away sometime around the age of 20.
So this long story to say...I have some things to work on. And I hope that my next "personal setback"....I'll jump right to the "pull it together" stage and leave the dramatics to the Kardashians.
Just please God don't let it be in an airport.