“Are you kidding me, the plane is here but there’s no crew? I mean seriously, how long is the delay?”
“We are hoping 2 hours — we are waiting for a crew from another flight to come in from Richmond to Boston – and they will deplane and then board your plane and that should be fine — so yes, 2 hours or so.”
“Oh my, won’t they be exhausted?”
“We do this all the time Ma’am.”
“Two hours — really!” I think to myself. The weather was so gorgeous I hadn’t anticipated a delay.
“Felice, you usually love delays, you can write, or read or people watch. Chill out,” I tell myself.
I noticed I was kind of muttering these thoughts like a bag lady and thank goodness I had my ear pods in, even though I wasn’t listening to anything. I didn’t want anyone to notice I was talking to myself. I had started talking to myself during these past 18 months of the Pandemic. Now, I was out in public, I better rein this in!
When I planned this visit to the kids, I wasn’t really worried about the travel part. I figured one quick flight from Martha’s Vineyard to Logan on my beloved Cape Air, a one hour lay over and then 2 hours of fly time til I got to O’hare. Easy peasy!
“Delay, really!” I grumbled.
I found a seat away from the others who were waiting and tried to be patient.
“This is fine, I’m so excited to see the kids. I hadn’t seen my granddaughter in 10 weeks and she was growing like a weed. It was time. I can’t let so much time go before the next visit. I’m going to have to get back into this travel routine.
And then a mess of a man plopped down next to me.
“Excuse me sir, excuse me, would you mind moving over 2 seats – there are plenty here.”
He grumbled something and moved over 2 seats and started pulling all kinds of food out of his bag.
“Oy, he’s going to start eating near me,” I thought.
I hadn’t anticipated this would bother me.
“Sir, excuse me sir, could you please pull up your mask,” I said ever so kindly.
“No, I can’t. I can’t pull up my mask and eat.”
“Of course, I said, that makes sense. I’m so sorry.”
I tried not to glare at him. Why do I have to watch him chew? I don’t want to see his mouth. I feel so exposed out here.
“OMG Felice, welcome to the real world, you are starting to perseverate like a nervous nellie.”
I moved 2 chairs even further over and started thinking about Chicago. I was working on happy thoughts.
“Think positive thoughts, deep breaths.” And then I started thinking about my conversation with my dear friend about Chicago.
“None of us are moving downtown, we are staying put. The crime is nuts. They just had a drive through ransacking of Nordstrom and it’s the second time it happened. We can’t live there in our 60’s so we are staying in the suburbs.”
“But my kids live downtown.”
“Yes, the kids like it — they don’t worry as much.”
“But I worry.”
Reflecting on this conversation, I practice my newly acquired skill set. “First, you must agree not to bring this up with the kids. Make sure to say what a great place it is they live in, don’t be critical. No-one is interested in your worries… It’s their life not. yours. Of course, of course.” Those thoughts were calming.
“Why is that man still eating? for God’s sake. There should be a time limit on how long the mask is off.” I picked up my bags and rolled them to an entirely new area near the information booth.
“I’m sorry Miss, you are not allowed on the plane, you cannot go back on.”
I spun my head in the direction of the chaos as I watched and listened.
A freaked out woman was screaming that she just wanted to go back on the plane. She promised to behave.
“WTF, who let the crazies out! Bring me back to the old days when I used to love to travel.”
I checked the board for flight information and saw it was still delayed but no worse than before.
“Why can’t every flight be like Cape Air.? My kids laugh at me because I love Cape Air. I had just taken it to get here to Logan.
“There’s only one pilot,” the kids anxiously warn, Please call us when you land. Mom, you really shouldn’t go on those little 10 seater planes.”
“I don’t know why, but I love seeing all the controls and hanging over the empty co-pilot’s seat. And how cool is it the pilot opens the window as she is goes down the runway until 2 seconds before take-off. It’s fun. I feel like ET riding across the moon on a lawn mower — I mean it sounds like a lawn mower. I love the hum of that engine.”
“Mom, you’re nuts, you’ve become an island recluse.”
Maybe they are right.
I realize I don’t like being in big airports now, too many random germs. It all feels too impersonal and bureaucratic.
I’m jolted out of my musings when I hear the woman still carrying on as she is ushered out of the terminal. I wonder where they are taking her. What did she say that got her thrown off?
And here I still sit, in nowhere-ville awaiting some phantom crew members to whisk me off to Chicago. It’s been 2 hours. Travel just doesn’t feel that appealing to me at the moment. Sitting in limbo, I start to hum a little Jimmy Cliff wondering why did I ever leave home?