Friday, April 16, 2010

At an event not long ago, a women shook my hand and thanked me for coming to town to be a part of the annual banquet. She said, “I know you travel all over the country. That must be so much fun jetting off to different places ... kind of romantic.” I just smiled and nodded my head. No one has more fun at their job than I do, but the travel is the challenging part. I think she had read one too many romance novels.

Yesterday was one of my romantic travel days. After digging through three unfolded loads of laundry looking for a shirt, I loaded my pushing-the-weight-limit suitcase and stuffed carryon in the car, dashed in Subway for a Veggie Delight and drove the hour to the airport eating, trying to not spill.

I parked in the 30 minute free parking area, dragged the big suitcase inside, checked it and learned the flight was delayed. Then I went back to the car, parked in long term parking and dragged the smaller bag back into the terminal. After stripping down to almost my underwear and loading my computer and all the stuff into the little bins that go through the x-ray machine, I walked through the metal detector. While I’m walking around without shoes, I try to think of a beach somewhere instead of all the other bare feet that have preceded me. I was stunned when I made it though without being one of the select few for further screening. It’s almost like the TSA agents see a “Choose Me” written on my forehead.

After redressing and repacking I paid $3.00 for a bottle of water and found out the flight was delayed again. Finally on board, I relaxed ... for a minute. The man in front of me went in to loud detail to the woman across the aisle about his trip. He had given up cigarettes six years ago and the money he hadn’t smoked away he was using to travel. He was on his way Puerto Vallarta. As we rolled down the runway taking off, he hollered, “Yee haw, this baby’s got pick up,” like he was on a mechanical bull at Gilley’s bar and grill. He should have a warning label.

After a mile walk to my connecting gate, I boarded the next plane. The flight attendant came over the intercom system, “Ladies and gentlemen, I know it’s a bit uncomfortable. Our air conditioner is broken. They are bringing us a new one so be patient please.”

Thirty minutes later, just before people were about to panic, we had cool air and were taking off. This flight was a little quieter. I noticed the man across the aisle from me was rubbing his head, then his neck, then he started this tapping repetitive movement with his hand on his chest. I thought the heat before takeoff had gotten the best of him. It all seemed so normal to his wife, so I assumed he wan’t having a seizure. It was sunset so maybe it was a religious ritual of sorts. It was strange. I was glad that was a short flight.

Yeah, interesting travel, but romantic ... not so much. Maybe if someone packed my bags, I had a limo pickup with little sandwiches and bottled Perrier with a bendy straw, and a Fabio-looking guy carried my bags to a private plane that would count as romantic.

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