I don't know if you're familiar with the hit TV show Lost but my return to California from Manila yesterday has made me think that recent events may have led me out of similar Lost elements: danger, disaster, and, yes, death.

You see, I am a Greg Focker when traveling. I humor the gods of travel with all sorts of misfortune that an ordinary traveler would not encounter — late airport train, unusual highway traffic and weather, overbooked plane, holidays on flight waitlist, plane seats next to the john or a mother and (wailing) child, lost luggage… you name it, 'been there, done that. Save for the occasional luck (eg, seat upgrade, free lounge use), which comes rarely, I am perhaps doomed to become a Lost cast in real life (hard knock on wood).

So it was not surprising to receive a call from my travel agent saying my flight was canceled and moved to a later date. It was not surprising either that my name wasn't picked from a seat upgrade raffle. And, of course, it wasn't a surprise to hear G irate and displeased over the news.

As it turned out, a series of unfortunate events transpired during the course of my flight delay. First, the airline I was booked into had trouble over radio transmission. It would have been impossible to track the plane during take-offs and landing and even emergencies. Two, the LAX was on a tight security on the day I was originally scheduled to arrive due to a certain level of threat (terror, perhaps). It would have been impossible to slip through customs the shrimp paste, fish sauce, native sweets, and a bagfull of stuff that are subject to tax or confiscation. Also, with a one-year open ticket, I would have been thorougly questioned, and perhaps, held under strong suspicion by the immigration officer in such heightened conditions. Last, a carjacking chase along 101 that ended in a bloody shootout on State Street happened a day prior. As recounted by the cab driver on my way home (who seem to be a witness to the entire mishap), it was a complete chaos: knotted and bumper traffic, canceled public transport, indiscriminate road blocks, and a helpless yet all too peevish public. My long anticipated sweet reunion with G would have been foiled by that, for sure.

What difference did that delay make? A lot. I have dodged a possible plane crash, a great deal of complications at US immigration or customs, a lousy reunion with G, a very expensive cab fare, and a string of undue stress, tension, and anxiety. I guess I'm no Greg Focker after all.

See related blog entries:
Jinxed! ( Posted: 10 October 2005) New York! New York! (Posted: 01 February 2005) 'Til Death Do Us Park (Posted: 06 March 2006)