Is it just me, or does air travel seem to be more trouble than it’s worth? I can feel my blood pressure rising at the thought of what’s involved. I make lists when I travel, lots of lists. I jot things down on a piece of paper as I think of them, and of course, I get busy with something else, forget where my list is, and then start a new one. At any given time there are probably dozens of lists all over the house. Think of it–there are people to notify, last minute details to take care of, arrangements to be made for transportation to and from the airport, online check ins, coordinating car rentals or pickups at the other end. It goes on and on. And on.
Once you’ve been checked in, you go through security. They X-ray your carry ons, pat you down, maybe even swab your baggage for unspeakable microbes. As you pass through the metal detector, you breathe a sigh of relief, and head to the gate, where you wait–once again–to finally board the flight. I let everyone else to go first. Not because I’m a polite Canadian, but because it’s easier than trying to find my seat while all the jostling is going on. Ever noticed how many passengers try to cram a suitcase, carry-on bag, and other assorted bags into the overhead bin–and think no one will notice them? Who’s policing that outrageous breach of protocol?
My ultimate travel nightmare is that as the plane soars into the blue I realize I left behind an essential item. No, wait–even worse than that is not being able to remember whether I turned the stove off before I left the house. Get out the anti anxiety mediation, quick. Yes, the easiest way to travel is under heavy sedation.
The flight itself is bearable, if you don’t mind being squished into tiny seats, if you have a huge bladder, and if you don’t need a decent meal every once in a while. Landing is a reverse of the jostling process, so again, I wait for it to be over before I even try to leave my seat. Once the line starts moving, I edge out, waiting for a break in the clouds, so to speak. I dart out into the path towards the stewardess with the smile on her face. She’s glad it’s over, too. And as I hug my loved ones that have so lovingly come to meet me at the gate, it makes the trip, like childbirth, worth it all.
But, like childbirth, don’t expect me to do it again any time soon.