Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Flight Attention

One thing I've discovered this year is that I really enjoy flying now that I am not responsible for anybody but myself. All the stress of maneuvering little boys through concourses, keeping track of "The Special Bunny", keeping them from disturbing other people was so draining, that the fun of a trip was rarely worth the ordeal. Now it doesn't much matter if the plane leaves on time, if the plans change, if silly people with oversize carry-on bags block the aisle. I don't much care if the TSA folks go through my purse three times looking for a non-existent pocket knife. The only thing that bugs me is that some airlines only serve Pepsi instead of Coke.It's time for me to beam up. Fritzi and I say teary good-byes. Howie drives me to the airport in the cool sunshine. He lets me out to check in with Northwest and confirm that my flight is on time. He parks and comes into the terminal for more good-byes and hugs. Standing still while he walks out the door is one of the most difficult things I've ever done.By the time I ride the escalator upstairs and take off my shoes for security, the weather has changed. Low snow clouds have blocked out all the sun. Drizzle is hitting the windows. Passengers for the 1:05 flight to Minneapolis are grimly determined. They have no plane. They are making friends with strangers. I think of "The Outcasts of Poker Flats". Their plane might arrive eventually. Some have created a card party, others a pity party.The 4:05 flight is still allegedly on time. Minutes tick by. I finish my wonderful library book by Stephanie Kallos. No announcements are made, but it becomes clear that flying in and out of Minneapolis isn't going to happen in a timely fashion. A worn-out farmgirl changes my ticket. She's been doing this for hours. I will fly a United link into O'Hare, my old nemesis. Then I will find an American flight to DFW. Fine. I can handle it. Time's not a factor. I've spent three and a half days in a different galaxy. My priorities have been rearranged. Sitting in an airport wrapped in a parka and reading a paperback seems like the only thing out there. Breathe in. Breathe out.The descent into Chicago is pretty trippy. We fly over residential areas with outside Christmas lights and displays. I consider waving back to waving Santas on rooftops!Let it go. Let it snow. Let it go.

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