Missing my flight home and “kicking the shit out of option B”

‘Tis the season peeps. I wrote this on the plane home, but then I got off the plane and there was just so! much! stuff! to! do! Gosh, I missed you, San Francisco. To make up for it, here’s a fan-fricking-tastic, nutritious, unintentionally topical song for you:

Patiently Waiting – Terrace Martin

And now…the time I missed my flight home:

It’s 8 PM on Sunday right now, and I’m writing this from seat 25D somewhere over the state that’s next to North Carolina*. I somehow managed to squeeze three weeks worth of clothes into one tiny suitcase, so I’m feeling pretty accomplished. Yesterday, I got up at 7AM for my 6:30AM flight. Here’s how the last 36 hours went in 20 riveting steps.

  1. Took two finals
  2. Went to a Mac Miller concert
  3. Did laundry at 1AM while listening to alien space music** with Devi and Kevin and Zoe
  4. Started packing. Could not close suitcase because of excessive overpacking. Sat on my suitcase like in the movies. Closed it. Zoe helped.
  5. Set my alarm for 4AM, and I thought, “Yeah, I’m just gonna sleep for like an hour and half.”
  6. Got up at 7AM. Stared at a note I wrote to myself in a rare moment of clairvoyance a few months ago. It says, “Take time seriously.” Ha. Ha. Ha.
  7. Googled, “What to do when you miss your flight!!!”
  8. Called United. Was put on hold for 45 minutes!
  9. Gave up and ubered to the airport instead.
  10. Was told that horrible weather conditions a few days before had pushed back all the flights on every airline and EVERY flight out from EVERY airline was overbooked.
  11. Next flight wasn’t until the next day at 6PM, 36 hours later
  12. Ubered back to Duke
  13. Took a “I want to forget I just missed my flight” nap
  14. Mary and Jennifer, two of my parents’ family friends, picked me up
  15. Had really good Chinese food
  16. It started raining, so we went shopping. Literally found the perfect jean jacket.
  17. Stayed the night at Mary’s in Chapel Hill
  18. Jennifer and I doodled and watched Netflix, and I attempted to teach her how to skateboard outside.
  19. Had to re-close my suitcase!
  20. It’s now. On a plane. Going home : )

Somewhere between steps 6 and 7, I climbed onto Zoe’s bed and repeatedly said, “I’m so upset,” while laugh-crying. We were both in a 7AM groggy daze, and I know that if some angel looking over us was watching that span of 20 minutes, it would have been very entertaining.

Zoe then pointed to the poster on my wall that gets asked about every time we have people over. It says, “Kick the shit out of option B,” and I got it at the Facebook Analog Laboratory when I went to go visit my cousin Lily last summer (I think that’s the most Silicon Valley thing I’ve ever written). The poster is a quote from Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook post after her husband unexpectedly died last year, and it’s a sort of “carpe diem” message that serves tons of relevant purposes when things don’t go as planned. Like when you miss a flight home.

Zoe’s said, “Alice you have that poster on your wall and it’s funny because you don’t swear and no one ever knows what it means but you know what it means and I know what it means. Kick the shit out of option B. It’s going to be ok.”

When I was applying to colleges a year ago, I wanted to go to the East Coast, and unlike lots of my friends’ parents, my mom and dad were very on board with me going across the country for the next four years. They said it would be the best exercise in growing up.

When you’re 3000 miles away from home, it’s hard to drive home just to do laundry or call your parents in semi states of frenzy when they’re asleep because it’s 4AM in California and 7AM at school. 

Being so far away from anything that’s ever been familiar to me has forced me to take care of myself and figure out all the parts of “adulting” that I never needed to think about before. The first time I washed my sheets, it took me a solid hour to put everything back on my bed. I was so bad at doing my bed for the first month of college that I couldn’t get my comforter to feel all fluffy and nice until October. My college diet of fried things and way too much cheese killed my tastebuds and made me realize how much I miss my mom and grandma’s Chinese cooking.

For every “crash course in self-sustainability” I’ve had to learn, college has given me a dizzying sense of independence and freedom. There have been so many instances of option B taking over in the past few months, but option B doesn’t have to be lesser or worse than option A; it’s just different, perhaps a bit messier. Option B has helped me grow from moments of failure. In a few hours, I’m going to be back home. My mom’s probably going to have fruit cut up for me and will insist on doing my bed. It’ll be comfortable and familiar, but for what it’s worth going back to college in a few weeks and weathering a new slew of option B’s doesn’t sound so bad.

Have a happy happy new year,


*Tennessee. I googled it.

**Mort Garson – Plantasia 

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