I waited with the car while Lori went to talk with the American desk. She quickly confirmed that our flight was canceled. She was given an 800 number to call to reschedule the flight, but getting American to get us a hotel for the night would require waiting in a line as long as the line for Franklin Barbecue.
I still don't know whether we did the right thing that afternoon. We could have afforded a hotel on our own, and gone off to do one of the things that we hadn't managed to squeeze into our itinerary. And in fact we were conscious at the time that this was an option.
But: I was so furious about American screwing this up that I could not (and still cannot) imagine being happy with something else that afternoon. I would have felt like a sucker. So, if the real choices are between waiting in line for hours of frustration or grinding my teeth at being taken for a sucker... well, it's no easy choice, but waiting in line is at least cheaper by the cost of a hotel room.
And so Lori waited in line until her legs hurt, and I waited in the cell phone lot without running the air conditioning, trapped there by my own fury and frustration and knowing that was what was trapping us there.