Monday, April 22, 2013

For Sanity's Sake, Allow For Slack

I had booked my flight weeks ago, had the time frame dialed in just right, and at the last minute, an opportunity presented itself. A number of the participants at STPCON decided to rent a box at Petco Park (where the San Diego Padres play). My flight came in at 5:30 p.m., the game started at 7:00 p.m., with pre-festivities starting at 6:00 p.m. If everything worked out right, I should be able to make that.

I think you all know where this is going, right ;)?

Well, as I'm sitting here, waiting for the flight, I have just heard over the loudspeakers "we are sorry for the inconvenience, but the flight to San Diego has been delayed by..." well, it's not really relevant how much. The point is, the game will go on without me there. Ah, well!

Last year, I did my best to book flights to get me to New Orleans, and likewise, that flight got delayed. This delay, however, was a much more troublesome one. I actually missed my connection flight, and no other flights would be available until the following morning. Net result was that I slept on the floor of the airport in Houston to get on the first flight out the next morning.

Both situations suffer from the same issue... planning without allowing for slack. We want to believe that everything will go well, that everything will work in our favor, and that we will be able to do what we need to so that we can get to our respective places, do what we want to do, or otherwise meet some goal. The simple fact is that, in our very regulated world where things are designed to run like clockwork, when things go wrong they tend to go "very wrong".  If we plan for things to go very wrong all the time, we're not going to get anything done, but if we plan for a little slack time in the things that we do,  then we find that we can absorb many of the issues that come our way, with much less need to to have to alter plans when things don't go our way.

As for my plans for tonight, I've already sent the news along, so if you hadn't signed on for the Padres game tonight, and you are at STPCON, and now wish you could go, have a chat at the registration desk and say "Michael Larsen can't make it, can I get his ticket?"

Updated: turns out there's a wait list for tickets, so it'll be claimed for sure by someone. I'll see you all as soon as I get there ;).

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