I spent much of the weekend in transit. As most of this travel occured via airplane, this means that I spent most of the weekend in airport waiting rooms, waiting on the ground and pondering the "drive" between landing in Mooresville and then driving via airplane to the Indianapolis Airport terminals. A few thoughts:
Dear Steward: I realize that it was the end of a long day for you as well as for us. However, it is your job to be pleasant and cheerful, even if your feet hurt and you're sick of people who try to cram bags the size of Montana into the overhead luggage compartment. There's a reason why much of the plane laughed at your remark about destinations.
By the by, when did people get the idea that such luggage qualified as "carry-on?"
Airports are an increasingly curious place in which to spend time. Nearly all of the waiting areas I passed were crammed to the brim, even at 6 AM. On the other hand, there's also more to do outside of the gate. I watched several interesting DVDs being broadcast in gift shops. The staff seemed reconciled to having a small crowd of bored travelers, unable to find a seat, all clustered at the back of the shop. I guessed the watchers to be Americans, based on the large number of sweatshirts we wore and the occasional shot glass purchase. In contrast, lots of well-dressed foreign travelers (I could tell by the passports they clutched) snapped up bears embroidered with the face of George W. Bush and caps depicting Air Force One.
By the by, I purchased none of these items.
I really wanted to do a crossword puzzle yesterday evening on one of the flights, but all of the magazines around me had already been used for this purpose. Will Shortz needs to get in touch with the airlines about including more puzzles and fewer articles about "Where to Eat in the Bahamas." Yes, the food looked lovely, but the illustrations still leave me quite bit short of the plane fare.
On another flight, the man sitting behind me turned out to be freshly home from his second tour in Iraq. He responded very politely to his seatmates queries on everything from food to heat. (Hey, without a puzzle to occupy my thoughts, of course I eavesdropped.) She was oddly reticent at one point until he finally came out and said, "if you mean was I shot at then the answer is yes, and more than once."
All of the post 9/11 security now seems normal - the long lines, shoe removal and family farewell at checkpoints rather than gateways - but talking in a personal way with a returned soldier still proves more difficult.