Sunday, October 2, 2011
When you travel like I do, miles mean something.
My "miles" are split between two different airlines, and, while they are basically an arbitrary number conjured up by some corporate formula, they matter in the grand scheme of things. Miles are currency. Miles are metrics. Miles are ... a passport to a bit of freedom.
So, as this day slips into the next, I'm forced to measure the value of a night's sleep in miles. Odd, huh?
I'm a sleep apnea sufferer. I stop breathing in the middle of the night, and not just for a few seconds. My last sleep test revealed that I sometimes go 90 seconds without a breath, and then I gasp for air and start breathing again. Until the next gasp.
I made a mistake today. I trusted United Airlines with my continuous positive air pressure machine, a small-ish device that's just a hair too big for the carry-on, and maybe a hair too important to entrust to the braindead folks who apparently think DRO (Durango, Colo.) some how translates into ORD (Chicago-O'Haire). Hey... I get it. We're all human. Some of us are dyslexic, that's all.
Trouble is, as I write this, it's 12:30 a.m. Monday. I have a meeting at 9:30 a.m., and a phone call an hour before that. My luggage, and my machine, won't arrive until sometime tomorrow. I'm screwed.
Why? Because, try as I might, I won't sleep tonight. I'll lay awake. I might occasionally drift off, but I know I'll snap back to consciousness, thanks to this condition and my stupidity.
But, hey, United is giving me 9,000 miles for my trouble.
What does that mean? It means, with 9,000 miles and $2.50, I can buy a pretty decent cup of coffee that might keep me awake through my phone call and then through my meeting, which was set to last most of the day.
The lesson learned? My condition is sleep apnea. The person in charge of luggage at United suffers from dyslexia. I guess, I'm to blame for trusting that someone at this huge airline would double check my luggage before they sent it off to the Windy City.
My bad. Goodnight (or good morning), United. Thanks for the miles.