I think it must be by some kind of proper Karmic balance that twenty-seven years ago, long before it became evident that my then-toddling children had inherited their mother's travel-loving DNA, we moved to a house located fifiteen minutes by car from Port Columbus, and I’m talking fifteen minutes from our garage to the line at the check-in counter. How many times while driving to the airport to drop off or pick up one of our departing or returning brood have Tom and I reminded ourselves that, unbeknownst to us at the time, moving close to the airport was the smartest thing we ever did?
I love picking people up at the airport. I love waiting at the arrival gate, the anticipation in the air, not only mine but everybody else's. I love watching people anxiously watch the exit, watching them catch sight of their awaited one, the cries of happiness, the hugs and kisses, sometimes tears, or sometimes just a brief greeting, cordial or cool, before arriver and arrivee walk off quickly together.
Last time I was waiting at the arrival gate to pick someone up there was standing next to me a group of young 20-something jeans- and -hoodie dudes. As soon as their awaited fellow dude exited the security area they ran to him and he to them and he jumped into the arms of one his dudes and wrapped his arms and legs around him while the others converged joyfully upon them. Airports are so full of emotion.
I also love flying. I didn’t much care for the movie “Up In The Air” (I know, I know, I’m the only person on the planet who didn’t think that movie was written and directed by God), but I did identify with George Clooney’s character, the guy whose comfort zone was on planes and in airports. That feeling resonated with me.
And I always look forward to the layover time. There’s something about being in an airport terminal. I mean it’s like you're neither here nor there, in no real place or time, with no demands on you except to get to the next leg of your journey on time. It's liberating.
As is the plane trip. With all the bad press flying gets these days, I have to honestly say I still love being on a plane. So what if the seats are too small and too close together? I just get into my own zone. I don't need to converse with my flight mates, and I avoid all but the necessary social interactions.
Though as a rule I'm a terrible sleeper in a clean, warm, comfortable bed in a dark, quiet bedroom, sit me in an airplane seat and I immediately conk out. I don't even need to tilt back the seat and annoy the person behind me, I can sleep with my seat back upright while the seat in front of me is tilted into my lap. Go figure.
I think better while flying, write better while flying, feel better while flying. Like I said, go figure.
One time during a flight the turbulence was rocking our plane so roughly that the flight attendants had to stop serving drinks and some passengers were calling out the Lord's name in fear. Me, I was rocked to sleep.
The only real problem with flying is that airport food, with few exceptions, tends to be awful. I can't comment on plane food since I never spring for the obscenely over-priced stuff. The up side for me, though, was the discovery of Combos, peanut M&M's (Used to use trail mix 'til I figured out that peanut M&M's were of the same basic construction as trail mix but at half the price), and diet Coke as palate-pleasing food substitutes while flying. And when else could you legitimately get away with consuming Combos, peanut M&M's and diet Coke all day long?
Anyway, the reason today's blog arrived so late is that today I flew from Columbus to Los Angeles to visit my daughter Maria, son-in-law Justin and my two grandbabies. How was my trip? The check-in line at Port Columbus was slow and stretched to kingdom come; a gate attendant was surly to me; the plane was packed, babies cried and kids whined; I had the window seat so I had to keep climbing over my seat mates to get to the ever-present line for the bathroom; I had trouble getting my suitcase in and out of the overhead; my daughter was stuck in an LA holiday traffic jam and was late picking me up. It was a great trip!