Friday, July 31, 2009

Travel Tales

At this time in America one doesn’t have to be a frequent flier to know the rules. In fact, I would say one pretty much needs to live under a rock not to know that liquid toiletries must be no more than 3 ounces, and all such items must be packed in no more than one one-quart plastic bag that can be easily removed from carry on items for x-ray by TSA.

I, of course, was behind two such amateurs/rock dwellers on my way out of Hartford on Tuesday. And, since I was somehow in the family friendly aisle, those people happened to be behind two families traveling with infants, strollers, and car seats that needed to be inspected. But because I understand that going through security can be a hassle these days, I had given myself plenty of time, so I didn’t panic. I kept my cool, took deep breaths, and waited my turn. I got through security without incident, then found the cocktail lounge closest to my gate and had a drink.

My first flight left on time and arrived early in Chicago. I had lunch, a couple of glasses of wine, and ended up waiting at the gate for my delayed flight to Seattle. Once on the plane, I waited a bit longer, because—as the pilot informed us—they were waiting for a bag to be brought up from the cargo hold. Apparently there was a passenger who simply could not be separated from his or her bag. Why s/he had allowed her or himself to be separated from it in the first place is not something the pilot shared with us. But I kept reminding myself you’re on vacation, it’s okay. No hurry.

Despite the TSA hassle in Hartford, and the delay in Chicago, I had—as we would say on a report card—a cooperative, positive attitude on that second flight. On more than one occasion I asked the two people seated to my right (I had the aisle seat) if they wanted to get up and stretch. With about an hour and a half left to go, we all got up and went to the bathroom and I waited for the others to get back to our row so we could file in without stepping over each other. I even offered everyone gum on descent.

I got here safe and sound--with stories to tell about the amateurs in Hartford, and the first class passenger’s bag in Chicago. In the end that’s all that matters. The getting here, that is. Well maybe both.

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