Funny things happened on the way to Madrid and Pamplona….
I was just chatting with the charming lady next to me, a New Yorker returning home, as we were taxing in at JFK Airport in New York. Then the plane stopped and the pilot came on, saying there had been an airport security breach at Terminal 8 and we would be waiting to find a space to pull in for 30 minutes to up to several hours. Groans were heard throughout the cabin. I quickly calculated that I had about a three-hour cushion for my next flight, which was heading to Madrid to catch my connection to Pamplona. The crew made other announcements about avoiding lines to use the toilets — not my present concern — and didn’t tell us anything else.
I got on my Blackberry. Four other people around me got on their version of Smartphones and we all began to contact friends and check out the situation. We quickly learned from a blend of Twitter, Yahoo, friends’ notes, the Washington Post online, and Reuters that some guy two hours earlier had accidentally gone through a airport employee door. The pilot — did he know for those last two hours and didn’t want to tell us until he knew more information?
I tweeted at @maremel my frustration with the scene. My Twitter feeds to my Facebook, and I got some nice commiserating comments. About two hours later, after an hour of waiting on the tarmac, another 15-20 minutes waiting for the jetway to be rolled out, walk time to cut around the massive crowds in the Terminal to get to the AirTrain to get to Terminal 7 to wait for my next flight.
So, over a sandwich, I read my email on my Blackberry. Lo and behold, a very nice New York Times reporter had read my Tweet and wanted to talk with me about my experience. She and I had two quick phone calls from my waiting spot on the floor of the Iberia Airlines gate. I called my husband afterwards to chuckle at the irony of my heading to Spain to teach about digital media and having a Twitter note turn into a NY Times interview!
It turned into a few lines of the article itself: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/nyregion/17JFK.html. that’s turned into emails and Facebook comments from friends to see if that was me. (I supposed there probably is another 47-year-old Gigi Johnson somewhere.) What a way to start a trip!
It also is ironic that a year ago when I was here I Tweeted about my masters’ class, and that Tweet was read by the Higher Universities of Technology in Abu Dhabi, who is having me come there to teach next month. The world is small and Twitter is making it smaller in all sorts of weird, wired ways.