Daily Archives: November 12, 2001

Grounded

Right about now, I should be on an airplane on its way to Austin. But I’m not; I’m at home.

The first thing I heard this morning when the clock radio turned itself on was a sentence something like this: “and we’ll have more about the crash of American Flight 587 soon”. I’d already turned off the radio by the time my brain processed the sentence, and I didn’t want to turn it on again.

I had to be at home today; it was supposed to have been a vacation day, since Jeffrey didn’t have school, but that was before I got scheduled to travel. And before the skies opened, making it feel like a good day to stay home. So I spent the day looking at news web sites (I didn’t want to turn on the TV) and trying to decide whether or not to go on the trip.

I finally decided that, yes, I would go — all of the news reports indicated that the crash was “just” a mechanical, not terrorism, and so it shouldn’t affect me. So Diane took me to the airport, and ten minutes after arriving, I was through security and in the Admirals’ Club.

That was probably a mistake. They had CNN on the big-screen TVs, and, even though I wasn’t sitting at that end of the club, any time I went to get some water, I saw the screen, which, of course, was always showing footage from this morning’s crash. I started to feel uneasy again.

Then I tried to load the route from Austin Airport to the hotel from my computer into my GPS. But I couldn’t — the program complained that COM1 wasn’t working. So I decided to reboot the computer, and got a bluescreen early in the bootup process. A 100%-reproducable bluescreen. Trying to boot the “last known good” configuration didn’t help. I couldn’t even get into Safe Mode.

I didn’t think being without my computer for this trip was a good idea. Instead, I decided that this was A Sign, and walked over to the desk and had them cancel my tickets. Then I called the travel agent and cancelled my hotel room, just a couple of minutes before I would have had to pay for a night anyway.

And then I came home.

I feel a little guilty about not going to my meeting, and I’m not looking forward to doing two full-day conference calls. But I just didn’t feel comfortable getting on that plane, and when my computer died, I was glad to have a somewhat logical reason to stay home.

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