What do rattlesnakes, Delta Airlines and a Samuel Adams Brewery have in common?
They all play a part in my travels to Orlando, Fla. this past weekend to attend the 2008 Summer Institute for Nova Southeastern University; my last appearance before the good folks of NSU prior to graduation in September. I am writing this blog entry as I sit waiting the compelling and constantly changing saga which I have, named simply: “Where’s Orlando?”
The moral of this story…well I’ll get to that a little later. Many of you who know me know that I have been excitedly awaiting my final trip down to Orlando for my last class before being awarded a Doctorate of Health Sciences from Nova Southeastern University; after which I will hopefully land the job of my dreams … somewhere. I did everything right in order to avoid the normal disasters that happen when I travel alone. I made the plane reservation six months ahead of time in order to get the best price. The hotel reservation was made three months ahead of time to get a good room and I managed to turn in my leave request a month early to ensure that everyone who needed to know knew I would be gone. I even took two days off the week before I had to leave to make sure I was packed, rested and ready to conquer this last hurdle with finesse - therefore proving my worthiness to be addressed as a “Dr.” This massive long term planning should guarantee smooth sailing, right? Right. Those of you who have traveled with me in the past already know this is not the way the story ends. For those of you who have never traveled with me, take heart, your turn's a-comin'.
I got up bright and early the day of the trip (actually that is Oreta-speak for 9-ish) and was about to sit down and relax when someone reminded me I had to leave by 11 if I was going to be on Groome Transportation at 12 sharp. So I meandered around until I was showered, changed, fed and ready to go - all that remained was to put on my shoes … that’s when it happened. I was apprised that at the exact moment I was readying myself to drag my luggage out the door there was a baby rattlesnake under my roommate’s truck. Regarding myself an amateur snake handler of sorts (okay, okay, I got bit a few weeks back, but hey, it happens) I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the baby snake up close and personal. Suffice to say after a discussion over snake relocation methods that involved among other things, a shovel, a sack, a loaded pistol and a piece of pipe, it was decided to attempt to pick up the snake with a six-foot piece of irrigation tube and a small piece of wood and transfer it to a sack for relocation. The snake was not thrilled with the relocation efforts, squiggling this way and that as two people tried to pick it up while it rattled away and struck at everything that moved. While a one-foot or smaller rattlesnake is not something that strikes fear in my heart, I figured the good folks of Nova Southeastern would not cotton to an excused absence from Summer Institute due to stupidity and a snakebite. So I tried to help, stay out of the way, and see everything all at once. Suffice to say that we finally got the snake in a bag, tied the top and stored him in a bucket until he could be … well, relocated.
I loaded up, drove to Groome in Macon, missed the noon bus and finally arrived at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport at 2:15. Undaunted, I was heading for the terminal when my cell phone rang and a canned voice announced that my flight was not leaving at 3:50, but rather 4:50. Back on schedule, I found a good cup of coffee and gamely made my way at a more sedate pace through the crowds. Upon my arrival at the terminal, I was told the flight had been delayed again and was now going to leave at 5:17. At this point the departure time of the flight to Orlando was changing faster than a stock market tip on crude oil. As I write this I now have an “approximate” departure time of 6:50 … but that may change according to the Delta official manning the new gate, where I accidentally realized my flight had been transferred to. I am sure they announced it, but of course my hearing problem is a problem when Ican’t read lips from thirty feet away; the closest seat to the boarding area.
Oh well, it is 6:30, I think I will head on down to the terminal and check out the latest departure time. Surely it has had time to change, and it is getting on towards supper time. I sure hope Orlando is still there when I get there - oh and did I mention I may be in the market for a “personal assistant?” The requirements include experience in rattlesnake roundups, bat-like sonar hearing and the ability to locate a fresh cup of coffee in all situations …. Have a great week everybody.
--Oreta Samples is the lead veterinary tech in the Department of Veterinary Science.