This is the tragic tale of an exhausted medical student, on the tail end of 5 consecutive interview trips away from home. This time, he’s in the faraway land of Pennsylvania.
The men stood up, pushing their chairs back as they shook hands, thanking each other briefly for their time. More thorough thank yous could wait; there was a plane to catch and a stack of blank thank you cards at home.
As soon as he was out of sight, he checked his watch. He had exactly two hours before his flight departed to deposit him across the state, where he would attend interviews at 2 more schools. There was no time to change out of his suit. Luckily, his flight time was less than an hour. He could handle being crammed onto an airplane in a suit for 45 minutes, especially when the entire plane would be looking at him thinking, “Wow, that guy must be important.” He stood up a little taller.
After dashing next door to his hotel to grab his bag, he was in a shuttle on his way to the airport. 1 hour and 30 minutes left, he thought, am I going to make it on time? A notorious worrier, he always assumed he would miss his flights and had been known to arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight. He paused for a moment to think, Gosh, is my propensity to arrive at airports way too early annoying to my wife and other loved ones? He shook the thought out of his mind. Preposterous.
Just as his worrying was reaching its peak, he realized his shuttle was at a standstill. Traffic. He put his head against the window in defeat, taking in the dreary city around him just as it started to rain. To calm his nerves, he sent a message to his beautiful and hilarious wife. Stuck in traffic. Weather sucks.
She wrote back, So your flight’s delayed?
He hadn’t even thought of that. He checked his flight status; his flight was delayed an hour. With this new information, at this rate he would make it to the airport 2 hours before his 45 minute flight. His ideal scenario. He sat back to enjoy the stop and go shuttle ride.
And then, at the airport, sat back at his gate to enjoy the
1 2 3 hour delay.
Finally, he was on the airplane — his dinner plans ruined; his suit too wrinkled for anyone to believe he was of any importance. 45 minutes, he thought, exhausted, in 45 minutes I’ll be there and on my way to my bed.
Meanwhile, at home his wife watched TV and refreshed his flight status when she remembered. When a red bar appeared, she gasped. Because what else does one do when they’re checking to see if a plane made it safely and out of nowhere, a giant red bar that practically screams EMERGENCY! DANGER! pops up? Did no one think of this when they were designing the site? COME ON.
After circling Philadelphia in terrifying turbulence for over an hour, the plane finally landed, and the flight watched as the smelly, exhausted man in the wrinkled suit made his way off the plane. “Is he homeless?” they probably whispered to each other, “Do you think he stole that suit?”
He had only one thing on his mind: a bed. By the time they landed, it was almost midnight. He blocked the next 30 minutes out of his mind: the disgusting airport, the shuttle that never came. The next thing he remembered was standing in the lobby of his beautiful hotel as someone handed him keys, then standing in front of the door to his room, fumbling with the key and contemplating falling asleep on the carpet outside of the door if not for the sweet, sweet bed that awaited him inside.
He opened the door to his hotel room.
There was no bed.