I was scheduled to leave NYC tonight on a 10 pm flight to London, from whence I would have proceeded to Oxford on Tuesday morning to appear at a conference at the Said Business School. I was scheduled to present my foreign tax credits paper on Wednesday and then to comment on an international tax paper by Richard Vann a couple of days after that. Then on to Munich where I will be giving a couple of talks and attending conferences at the Max Planck Institute in Munich (on tax policy, not physics).
Knowing how bad the Holland Tunnel can be, I got to Newark Airport way early - at 7:40 pm for a 10:10 pm flight. Only problem: the flight had been rescheduled to leave at 8 pm. So much for that idea - you can't sprint through airports any more these days, especially for international, like in that old O.J. Simpson (!) commercial that I seem to recall from, well, obviously it couldn't been from later than the early 1990s.
No chance of getting to England tonight, and the outlook for getting there tomorrow was fairly bleak what with summer travel volume. I was offered the opportunity to arrive by 7 am and sit around hoping to get seated on stand-by for one flight after another, but without enormous hopes of success. With my main talk scheduled for Oxford on Wednesday, and mediocre prospects of getting there in time, I decided to pull the plug and cancel the London/Oxford wing of the trip, instead going straight to Munich on Thursday (where fortuitously, after talking to the flight people for 3 different airlines, I was able to get a seat on the flight that my family is already taking there).
I'm sorry to miss the Oxford conference and numerous friends who will be there, as well as to have let down the conference schedulers & made them scramble at the last minute to rearrange the sessions. I happen to greatly like both Oxford & London, and perhaps will get to try again, more successfully, next year.