“Kiss me and smile for me. Tell me that you’ll wait for me. Hold me like you’ll never let me go. ‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again. Oh babe, I hate to go” Peter, Paul and Mary Leaving On a Jet Plane
Travel is serious business these days.
Mask, no covid mask test, test for international travel only, passport, real id, shoes off, signs that state we are not allowed to get angry to the staff that is seeing us through, that was new. I consider, why would we be snarky at the people asking you to put your laptop in a separate container? Then there is the lucky TSA-approved who breeze through like elite travelers.
I want to get from Santa Barbara to Portland, Oregon, and back again; it seems simple right? I am stranded in San Francisco; I do know the Uber would cost me, and getting on a train appears far-fetched. Yes, I could rent a car but driving at night after drinking two martinis is never wise. Should I have checked into Oakland as another possibility?
Today’s flying adventures include full flights, every seat. We are to squeeze in with other travelers to see family, and friends, grab a get-a-way and work. We are getting back on planes because we can. We travel to see different places and appreciate the home we live in. Therein lies the irony. Our view and perspective changes from where we are standing.
But, what happens to our perspective when we are stuck, delayed, or denied our flight home?
I fear that I am, in fact, Tom Hanks in “Terminal” wondering where I will make my bed? I have heard thousands of travelers are in the same predicament as I am right now.
I was sitting in a café that was musically challenged like a loud time warp, with the sound up a wee bit too high. My view is watching travelers from everywhere marching about like ants scattered in different directions. Can it be we are all just on our way somewhere else? Or we could be like me on our way home. I love home. It is where I breathe the deepest, find inspiration, and create a life I have come to understand with a husband with that I endear.
I ordered a martini to make the wait a bit more relaxing; after all, we have no control, we have options, and quiet anticipation is required. Others see to our safe flight.
Meanwhile, I see people from all races, from all places that have the same hope, dreams, and goals as anyone else. People like travel to be seamless, and it never is, only because we bring along our angst. That will throw a bolt into our moments in between where we want to be. The outfits and languages vary from pajamas to Louis Vuitton to cowboy boots, a melting pot of lives.
I will wait like a good girl and see the lovely families hopeful for their flights. I lean against a wall within sight of my gate but away from the crowd. A tall man walks past me, and I know who he is. He glances my way, and I give him a close look of recognition.
Oprah’s Stedman Graham is waiting for the same flight to Santa Barbara. He looks away and tucks himself in like a turtle. He has that move down, I fear but to self-protect is what he has learned. I imagine putting one of my books in his open carry bag. No, stop, that is not Ok. I am pretty sure slipping something into a stranger’s bag at the airport is a felonious crime. Being stuck in the airport and being stuck in the airport lock-up are two different things. I get a hold of myself. Living in Santa Barbara, I have learned the etiquette of famous people and leave them be. I think that is a plus for those who choose to live in Santa Barbara. I still glance at him in wonder; a glance is not impeding his privacy. He looked tired like I felt.
Exhaustion is hitting me. The wait was over four hours late; I felt concerned that the flight would be canceled.
The flight to Santa Barbara touched down ten minutes before they turned the runway lights off. We lucked out with a much better outcome than my wild imagination of making that airport my second home.
My Mantra: “Angels around your travels”