Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The flight began, rather inauspiciously, at 7:00 am with screaming children – in stereo. It took several painful moments of frantically digging through my purse to remember where I had stashed those earplugs. However, once airborne, children calmed down and peace reigned (in the form of Oreos and sugared soda.) But who am I to look a gift snack food in the mouth?

I vaguely remember the days before 9/11, when airline travel did not require packing a lunch just to make it through the security checkpoints and when you could include a full size tube of toothpaste in your carry-on bag without anyone dragging you off to the side and asking you dozens of questions about your destination, your purpose, and your parentage in a suspicious tone of voice. Then there was the time when you could check 2 bags at no extra charge, eliminating the need to try to stuff 3 carry-on bags the size of Montana into the overhead bins and then arguing with the flight attendant when told that you were limited to 2 bags and would have to check one anyway. Travel used to be relatively simple – a time to explore new places and cultures and leave worries at home behind you. Now, travel is complex with long lines, mulitple questions, multiple searches and more long lines.

At times, usually in the 5th long line of the day and the 8th version of the question “Did you pack your own bag and did anyone give you anything to carry on?” you begin to lose some of your patience and sense of humor. You begin to think that maybe all the hassle of travel just isn’t worth it anymore. That the time may be coming when you should just frame your passport and reminisce about all those places you’ve been instead of trying for one more stamp – one more Visa entry card. But then, the pilot announces that you are starting your descent, the weather at your destination is 80 degrees and sunny, and he wishes you an enjoyable stay, and you decide that maybe you can stand in one more line, answer one more question, plug your ears to one more screaming child.

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