I don’t travel well. No, it’s true. I don’t and I freely own it. I am especially awful about air travel. Despite the fact that it is preferred by many, I would rather drive. Driving aligns more comfortably with my control freaky nature and I tend to get where I am going. Air travel is for gamblers. People who haven’t any issues with turning their lives over to the fates and are happy as long as the outcome approximates their expectations.
Because I am often the downer on air trips to the States, I resolved to be the Dalai Lama of the skies this time. I would not overheat or flap. I would be zen’s cremey vanilla center.
And I was.
When our first flight was grounded for an hour with a computer glich, I napped. The American across the aisle was on his cell phone franctically trying to make sure his connecting flight could still be made and grumbling to anyone who would listen that when a pilot said “We’ll be leaving momentarily” then perhaps that’s what should happen. I have been in Canada long enough to know that “moment” is a completely relative term. The Canadians occupy the same temporal space as the Mexicans when it comes to time, space and the idea that work should intersect these spheres.
“He just doesn’t understand the whole time thing here,” I said to Rob.
“You have assimilated well,” he replied.
“Seven of Nine,” I added.
When the plane circled Minneapolis for an hour, I was serene. When a tiny woman tried to guilt Rob into stepping aside for her when we finally landed and could disembark because “I have a conecting flight!” and his reply was strained through his teeth, “We all have connecting flights.” I just concentrated on my breathing and scurrying Dee along.
The cancellation of our connecting flight, after we’d run Dee’s tiny legs to nubs to get to the gate on time, did not faze me. Nor did the fact that we couldn’t get on another flight until the next morning.
Even the fact that our lugguage was caught in the unspeakable vortex of the unknown that claims all luggage whose owners are victims of “acts of God” and “irregular conditions” wasn’t enough to keep me from chirping all sorts of silver lining mantras.
But when the shuttle bus to the hotel arrived late and the pouring rain and rush hour traffic pushed a 20 minute drive to the hotel past an hour, I was done with my Pollyanna of the Skies persona. It was ill-fitting and, frankly, stupid.
Flying sucks. From the moment a person walks into an airport terminal to be herded and suspected and stripped of any real power over their well-being, loved ones and belongings until it deposits him/her like spit on summer’s sidewalk – maybe at their destination and maybe not – everything about it peels and grates and burns. It’s like being Gollum on the end of a tether.