I’m back home on Californian soil under the warm winter suns of the West Coast. My first winter in Wisconsin wasn’t as bad as expected; really, it only got to negative 12, without wind chill. It looks like I dodged the polar vortex, but not completely. My flight out of Milwaukee was grounded due to the cold and that set off a chain of events that became a cusp event, where I could either fold up my deck and quit or I could rise to the occasion and shine. I shone on, like the crazy diamond I am.
I arrived at the Milwaukee airport around 5:15pm, a little over an hour before my 6:25pm flight. As always, I checked the flight board before I signed in and immediately I noticed something was wrong. My flight was grounded due to the cold. Cold they say, HAH, it was a pleasant 3 degrees, a warm evening! There is one final flight out to O’Hare at 7:29pm, but that wont get me to Chicago in time for my 8:18pm flight, the last of the night to SFO. The woman from United got me onto a Coach USA bus that supposedly would be at O’Hare around 7:20pm. This is doable, excellent. I got on the bus and the driver told me, much to my dismay, that the bus actually would get there at 7:40pm. That is less doable; O’Hare is ginormous and I still had to check a bag, get through security, and get to my gate.
The bus got there on-time and I was the first stop. I got my bag checked and was through security in under 5 minutes, a personal record. Normally I’d opt out of the radiation machine for the pat down, but since my plane had already been boarding for nearly 15 minutes I needed to hurry (and I was only sexually harassed a little bit by the TSA agent for it). With a 50-60 pound backpack on and a camera bag I managed to run over a quarter mile to my gate, through the throngs of O’Hare in only 5 minutes. I got to my gate to find that I left my boarding pass and ID at security. I tried to leave my bags at the gate so I could run faster but the gate agents refused. In hindsight, I fully understand why; it could have been a bomb for all they knew. Now it really felt “life-or-death,” if I missed this flight my bag still got to SFO and an unknown fate without me.
I put my pack back on and took off running. I ran all the way back to security with my heavy pack and exceedingly exhausted muscles, but I ran to the wrong security check. There were two and thankfully the TSA agent I talked to was very helpful pointing me in the right direction. As soon as I made it to the right security check I got my ID and began the long run back to Gate C10. Nearly a mile later, in about 15 minutes, I was feeling near death but I made my flight. “Water…now…please, I’m near death,” is what I managed to croak out with a raspy voice from a sputtering mouth to the flight attendant. Even near death and about to collapse one cannot forget ones manners. I got my water, collapsed into my seat and threw off my jacket into the vacant seats next to me. Victory was three seats to myself; freedom to move and stretch out, also another bottle of water delivered to my seat.
Moments like this are why I do parkour. I didn’t implement any specific maneuvers from parkour, but the physical training and the training of my perception that goes into it were crucial to get me to my seat on that plane. This is also why I did Tough Mudder last year, to know my limits. I had faced obstacles much greater than this, so I knew I could overcome it. That doesn’t mean I can slack off, if anything it means I know exactly how hard I need to push myself, no more and no less. It is important to know one’s limits and to respect them, yet also to push your limits in a way that is friendly to your body. Do not hate your body, respect it and appreciate it because it is all you have.