Not the birthday portrait I intended to post, but thanks to American Airlines, I’m still stuck in transit instead of at home with family and pets. It’s not actually the first time I’ve spent at least part of a birthday at an airport, but those other times were not because a plane had an engine that wouldn’t turn on. Such are the vicissitudes of life. Let’s see if I actually manage to get home today.

In the meantime, I hope you have a delightful my birthday. In lieu of gifts, donate a sum to a cause that’s important to you. I’ll be doing that later today myself, once I’m home.

— JS

60 Comments on “53”

  1. Would it be faster to rent a car and drive the rest of the way home, rather than waiting for AA to get its collective head out of its posterior?

    Here’s hoping you can get home soon!

  2. So sorry your birthday is being challenging. Best wishes to you, anyway. That’s right, enjoy yourself as best you can, anyway. That’ll show ’em. Not that I’m giving you advice. But, hey, it’s your birthday, you should be king for the day, right! May St Christopher (I think the patron saint of travellers) keep you safe.

  3. Warmest birthday wishes. Here’s hoping you get home soon, to find out that as a present your wife has purchased a 6-neck ukulele for you ;)

  4. Does anyone else want to play the game of “which AA hub is he stuck at?”.

    Kind of like playing GeoGuesser w/ no move, no zoom, no peeking at any other social media for clues, etc. Use just what you see in the photo.

    It is clearly not Phoenix. The terminal is not a patch for Sky Harbor, and neither is the weather. I am guessing Chicago, though the Dallas “D” concourse might also be a strong match….

  5. I’m getting on an AA flight today… this post caused me to check to see how often it has been on time, and the answer is not much, so it will likely be a very late night for me tonight.

    Fortunately there’s still one more flight after it, increasing the chances I actually make it to my destination.

    Happy birthday! I will donate to abortion funds once I’m done packing.

  6. Yeah, I didnt initially notice that peoplemover train support pillar just outside that window. It has to be DFW. Final answer.

    And Happy Birthday.

  7. Happy birthday! Here’s hoping you can get home soon, and find delicious airport snacks in the meantime.

  8. Happy birthday. With the new clean-shaven face, you look like the John Scalzi I first met all those years ago, at a signing or sf con, I forget which. You don’t look any older at all, and I think it’s been over a decade, maybe closing in ann two. !!

  9. Happy birthday, John! I will turn 53 in about three weeks, so I am carefully studying your blog posts to see what I can expect. Apparently liminal spaces are on the menu.

  10. Happy Birthday, John! I wish you many more successful trips around the sun. I am so glad you were born and share your writings with the world.

  11. Happy birthday, John! May you have many more orbits around our primary star.

  12. Happy Birthday, favorite author! I hope your travel delays end and you are home to celebrate with your family as soon as possible!

  13. happy birthday! You share a birthday with my domain, which is 23 years old today.

  14. Happy birthday!

    And while it is enormously frustrating that an airplane engine refused to turn on when you wanted to travel, far better that it exhibit a lack of cooperation while still on the ground than at 35,000 feet in the air. Good luck, and SAFE travels!

  15. Happy Birthday, John! Hope your next trip around the sun is amazing, unlike your trip to get home today.

  16. Happy birthday, John. It’s all the humans fault, of course. Just don’t be mean to the robots. I hear they might have a problem with that.

  17. Sad and lonely…. That airport looks empty.

    I have images of the The Langoliers now…

  18. Well. Happy Birthday? May you get home safely to a warm and welcoming day!

  19. Happy 53rd!

    Prime number birthdays do require extra effort and reflection, you know.

  20. Happy Birthday and I hope there’s some cake waiting for you on the other end of your extra-long journey! May you celebrate decades more!

  21. So sorry! I hope your birthday’s less than ideal start gives way to a magnificent ending!

  22. You share a birthday with my mother (congratulations?) who would have been 98 today. Hope you get home soon.

  23. Let me join the chorus.

    Have as happy a birthday as one can have at an airport. And I hope you don’t have to spend all of it there.

    And, yeah, engine failure on the ground is just annoying, whilst engine failure far above the ground can be anything between scary and deadly…

  24. UNICEF… Happy Birthday… Kindness to random cats bodes well with you. ( You don’t know it, but Xanna returned to his adjoining Universe and advised the Asepsis Committee that, contrary to mounting evidence, Humans yet retain some modicum of congeniality, and recommended a stay of Deletion. Thank you )… Much love and happiness to you…

  25. Happy Birthday! (and for the guess the airport folks, as a Dallas resident, I knew that was DFW at first glance from the seats).

  26. Many happy returns of the day (now past), and I hope you made it home in one piece by this time.

  27. Not that it’s a competition, but a few years ago I spent part of my birthday making funeral arrangements for my uncle who’d passed the day before, then spent the entire evening sleeping in the Baltimore airport trying to get from Hartford to Raleigh. I slept in the airport.

    I hope you get to celebrate eventually.

  28. Happy happy, John. You youngster you. Hope you’re out of airport hell soon. I wonder if this is the real life example of the Monopoly “Go Straight to Jail, Do Not Pass Go” experience? You just have to wait for the pilot to roll doubles.

  29. OMG, that utterly sucks, Scalzi! Did you have to spend the night at the terminal or did they at least spring for a hotel, such as it might be? Did you spring for a hotel yourself?

    One year when I was much younger I flew into Los Angeles from NYC and missed my connecting flight, the last of the day. Because I was flying to San Diego from there where my Mom was, and was too poor to afford either a hotel or a rental car (not that I had a valid driver’s license at that point anyway, living in New York City and all), I caught a bus to Downtown L.A. and spent the night with a bottle of cheap red wine at one of city’s fine grindhouses, watching the tail end of a kung-fu movie I don’t even remember the title of, David Cronenberg’s Rabid (a film I’d seen several times already and liked a lot), and The Boys From Brazil, where Gregory Peck and Lord
    Laurence Olivier were in locked in a death duel to come up with the most ridiculous accent they could! (Peck won by a nose because no matter what Olivier came up with, a German-accented Gregory Peck is and always will be the Highest of Camp.)

  30. Happy Birthday, hope the Airport has some decent food in it.

    At the beginning of COVID, I was in Budapest. Getting back was a nightmare, hope you trip ends up easier, I am almost sure it will be. Restaurants weren’t open for the week it took me to get home.

  31. My family, when my boys were 11-12 years old, had to sit on the floor at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport for 12 hours during a tornado. Thank god for the Popeyes Fried Chicken! Hope you get home safe and soon.

  32. Happy Birthday. I am really glad you were born. I made several donations today.

  33. Happy Birthday

    . CRUNCH <== sound of America's
    . eyeballs hitting WaPo paywall

  34. I chose to have a mortgage so I don’t have much money to give to charity but I did just donate a bunch of blood. So have A Positive birthday!

  35. Happy Birthday! We spent the recent weekend flying several states away for Kid #2’s college graduation. Alaska Airlines had several delays on the way there, including one plane that had to be replaced due to — you guessed it — engine failure. Luckily, we arrived only an hour later than planned and our return trip was uneventful. Same Kid also refuses to fly through SeaTac at all, due to too many connecting flight near-misses. The air infrastructure is getting old, creaky, and understaffed…..there’s clearly no way this could go wrong. /s

  36. Once was trapped in Atlanta, watched while Delta kept all the inbound flights operational while no flights were leaving because of bad weather the day before. Eventually there were no seats for people. If you got up to visit a restroom or get food, there was no seat ever when you got back. Trip to Tucson AZ was cancelled, the next morning I flew back to WV.

    I don’t travel on my birthday, which is very close to Christmas, for which I don’t travel, way too congested around the Xmas holidays!

  37. I also spent the night in the Atlanta airport a couple of years ago. Flight delayed, got there after midnight, no other flights, next flight was 8:30. Yes, I could have gone to a hotel but by the time I got there I’d have had to turn around and come back to the airport. I basically dozed between rounds of floor polishing.

    I’m scheduled to fly American at the end of the month, and my job insisted on making the arrangements. I’ve traveled enough to know it’s going to be a disaster, and that was before I read this blog entry. I fully expect to be late and spend the night in probably two airports. Forewarned is forearmed, so I’ll be prepared with movies, blanket and pillow.

  38. May I add my felicitations and congratulations, and–as a retired commercial pilot–confirm that no one has ever been killed by an engine that refused to start on the ground, rather than one that declined further toil once aloft? (Although I suspect that some gate agents’ lives have been threatened in the former case.)

    And, Cricket: Unless you’re wishing John “a nice day in the mountains” (lovely thought–but that’s what “Gebirgstag” means), what you might have wanted to say was “Geburtstag.” Of course, U and I are a adjacent on the keyboard…

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