Thursday, February 12, 2015

Certainly A Lot Of Uncertainty These Days

When things are uncertain, I have a tough time relaxing. I realize this is not good, since the only certainty in life is the never-ending stream of uncertainty. People always say the only certain things are death and taxes. Those two items would be somewhat tolerable if they both didn’t have so much uncertainty about them. Death? Yes, I know, but when? Taxes? Yes, I live in Connecticut, so how much more this year? What bothers me most about these two classic “certainties” is the certainty that they always will be fraught with uncertainty. (Um, that last sentence confused me — and I wrote it. I’m not quite certain what point I was trying to make.)

Anyway, as I sit here on a Saturday morning, I am thinking about uncertainty because I am facing a boatload of it. I’m supposed to fly to Chicago this afternoon for a three-day business convention, but it’s snowing like crazy right now. It’s the heaviest snowfall we’ve had so far this winter. So here are the questions rattling through my head, all of which I cannot answer with any certainty:

  • Will my flight get delayed or cancelled?

  • If it’s not cancelled, will my car make it to Bradley Airport in time with all this snow?

  • If my car can’t make it, will I spend the night in a ditch off the side of some desolate road in Granby, fending off raccoons who are trying to chew my fingertips off?

  • If I make it to the airport but then my flight gets cancelled at the last minute, will I be able to find a hotel room near the airport, or will I have to sleep on the floor in the terminal?

  • If I find a hotel room near the airport, will the courtesy shuttle bus slide into a ditch and cause the driver and me to spend the night fending off raccoons who are trying to chew our fingertips off?

  • What if my flight departs on time but halfway to Chicago the plane disappears over the Indian Ocean? (I admit we’re not going to be all that close to the Indian Ocean, since we’re not connecting through Baltimore, but if it does happen, will the uncertainty of the situation cause CNN to cover the story non-stop for months?)

  • If I make it to Chicago as planned, will it really be easy to take the “L” train from the airport to downtown, as the Transit Authority website said?

  • Or will I be wandering around Midway Airport for three days trying to find the train station?

  • What if I get on the wrong “L” train and wind up in the Indian Ocean?

  • What if I get on the right train, but it derails into a ditch on the outskirts of the city and the other passengers and I spend the night fending off raccoons who are trying to chew our fingertips off?

  • What if instead of raccoons, they’re fierce Midwestern badgers?

  • What if I make it to my downtown hotel OK, but because of a computer glitch they lost my reservation?
Another question I cannot answer, which is causing even more anxiety, is this: what if everything goes right regarding cars, planes, trains, and hotel rooms, but when my three days of seminars and meetings begin, I’m so exhausted from stress and uncertainty, I am unable to learn anything or contribute to the discussions? And if that happens, will I lose my job? And if I lose my job, will my company credit card get cancelled, forcing me to walk home? And if I have to walk home, are there raccoons in Indiana?

I’m starting to think I worry too much.

“A Matter of Laugh or Death” appears each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, Conn.

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