Mr. Gladwell's first example has to do with the curious rise in popularity of hush puppies (holy cow are they popular in Chile). As I was sitting in the La Serena airport, packed and ready to board my plane to weddingland, it became evident that I, too, was approaching a tipping point in our voyage.
Our flight was canceled.
The plane that was supposed to take me and my loverboy (that's Mr. Bear Cub ;) ) to Santiago, to catch a 9pm flight to Dallas, to catch an 8am flight to Portland, had, upon landing at my airport in La Serena, sucked a bird into one of its engines. My early afternoon flight was permanently grounded, and most passengers were being ticketed for a connecting flight the following day.
Sad Bear Cub.
stuck at the airport with my irony
For most travelers, this is an unwelcome inconvenience. To a bride a week before her wedding, this is catastrophe. We had carefully planned to arrive on Friday a week before the wedding. This would leave us with a very finite amount of time in which to move mountains. As it was, every single day before the wedding was already chock full of tasks - arriving a day late would derail my sanity and make it nearly impossible to finish important things like baking the wedding cake.
No joke - we were packed tight:
Friday (arrive midday, tired)
-- final dress alterations (hadn't worn let alone seen my dress for a full year)
-- 5 mile training run (remember that marathon we'd been prepping for?)
-- Mail my engagement ring to the wedding ring maker for final adjustments (he lives on the east coast!)
-- 15 mile training run
-- visit flower farm, make final arrangements for u-pick flowers
-- pick up lavender bushels
-- get mason jars
-- organize decoration supplies to go to Camp Westwind
-- visit Westwind (2 hour drive away), meet with camp director and head chef
-- 6 mile training run
-- get a makeup trial, buy some makeup
-- get a dang haircut already
-- buy some lingerie!
-- meet and rehearse with our band
-- buy plants from a nursery for special extra part to ceremony
(My family flew into Portland around this time. As lovely as they are, this starts to add other important duties to the list, such as spending precious time with them ;) ).
-- 8 mile training run
-- get the wine (across town)
-- arrange for the beer (kegs) to be picked up
-- kill fires
-- eat sushi (this one's important)
-- FAMILY MEETS FOR THE FIRST TIME!!
-- 5 mile training run
-- bake wedding cakes with my maid of honor, sister, and mother all day (get supplies in advance)
-- must have been busy, because it's a total BLANK
-- something resembling a bachelorette/bachelor party in the evening
-- Drive to Westwind!
-- Prep for the wedding!
-- (12 mile run. can you believe the insanity?)
-- get the heck outa dodge.
... I was a bit stressed. Mr. Bear Cub suggested we try to calm down in the airport by practicing our wedding dance. When we told one of the gate agents that we were traveling to get married, the skies parted (less birds for air strikes), and they did everything in their power to help us get to the states by the following morning. There was a late flight that evening, set to arrive in Santiago at 8:50pm. Our original flight was set to leave Santiago at 9pm. They told us we could take this late flight, and chance making our connection.
We answered with an emphatic "SI!!"
They checked our bags all the way to Portland (normally you have to re-check your bags upon arrival to the states - this would also be a tight connection), and arranged for a gate agent to escort us to our connection.
We just made it. They had put us in the first row of the plane, and as soon as the door to the plane was opened, a gate agent whisked us through all sorts of back hallways in the Santiago airport to our connecting gate. We were literally running across the airport, movie-like, giddy smiles at our grand fortune plastered across our faces.
And we made our connection.
We were routed a little differently - through Miami - but we arrived in Portland only 6 hours late.
Blissful in our good fortune (I even convinced the rental car company to rent us a Prius for the price of a Chevy Aveo! Wedding card score!), we regrouped to tackle the mountain of wedding tasks for the following week.