I sometimes suffer from travel anxiety. Okay, always. I always suffer from travel anxiety, though the severity varies. If there were a formula for my anxiety, it would look like this:
A = [(m+1) * d]/(n*1,000)
Where “m” is the number of miles from home I will be traveling, “d” = is the number of days I will be away from my family, and “n” is the number of people and/or pets who are with me (including myself). “A” is measured in Angst units.
For example if I were at home with all four pets and 3 family members, the equation would be as follows (showing my work to make my junior high math teachers happy):
A = [(0 + 1) * 1]/(8 * 1000) = (1 * 1) / 8,000 = 1/8000 = practically zero.
Now you try one (Everyone loves word problems): Kari is flying to see some friends 638 miles away from home. She will be there for 7 days, and is traveling alone. How many Angst units is Kari experiencing on the day she leaves for her flight?*
Of course my dog, Emerson, knew something weird was going on and moped around the house all day, staring at me with that sad look on his face. Then just before we were going to leave, he went and stood by the door, as if he could stop me. Or maybe because he hoped I’m take him with me. Either way it was a fruitless effort, because I left anyway.
At the airport I said goodbye to my family with big hugs and took pictures with everyone so I had fresh photos to look at when I felt sad & lonely. I also managed not to cry at all until after they were out of sight. That’s probably a new record for me.
Ian & the kids had to be at another event by noon, so I arrived at the airport 2 hours early. This gave me plenty of time to get through airport security, which I clearly needed because there was already one other person in the line; practically a traffic jam. While I was standing in the controversial body scan machine, I had a thought. They should combine these security scans with cancer screenings. Just think of the value-added service for travelers. “Free cancer screening with every airline ticket!” No mammogram for me, Doc. Here’s my airport security scan from last month. As you can see, I’m all clear.
Then after I stepped out of the machine, a TSA agent checked under my watch and asked to see the back of my right elbow. I resisted the urge to ask whether they checked everyone’s right elbow or if there was something especially suspicious about my right elbow in particular. Also I think my left elbow was slightly offended at the lack of attention it received. But my elbows and I were given the ok to travel so it was all good.
I sat near the departure gate and played with my phone while I waited for our flight to depart. As the other passengers started to arrive, I wondered whether I had inadvertently booked myself on the senior citizen flight. At least half of the other travelers were little old ladies. True story.
After a while, a nice little old lady (let’s call her Mabel)** asked me if she was at the right gate to go to Denver. She said she was 87 & whan you get to be her age sometimes you forget stuff. I told her that’s a problem for me already at 36 & I don’t even want to know how bad it’ll be by the time I turn 87. When the flight attendant called for people to board, I remained in my seat. The one nice thing about traveling alone is that I don’t have to adhere to anyone else’s timetable (other than the airline’s of course.) I see no need to jump out of my seat and wait in line with dozens of other people when I can wait comfortably in my chair with all my stuff around me. When the gate attendant said “Hey you! Get out of your chair and board the damn plane already!”*** then I obeyed.
In an amusing turn of events, I discovered that Mabel was my neighbor on the plane. I offered her some gum for the takeoff, which she gladly accepted. In exchange she helped me take off my jacket, asked what I was reading, and told me she still mows her own lawn. Halfway through the flight the cabin got rather cold, and the flight attended said they don’t offer blankets anymore for flights under 4 hours (because apparently people don’t get cold on shorter flights or something.) So I gave Mabel my scarf to wrap around her frozen little old ankles. I know. I’m a damn saint.
In closing, I’d like to share with you this photo I took of two farming plots that look just like Pacman & Mrs Pacman kissing.
PS- I don’t know much about farming, but what’s the deal with all the circular fields? It seems like a dramatically inefficient use of space – look at all the earth that is doing nothing! The view of North Dakota is very different – nearly every square foot of ground is used for planting, so the aerial view is a sea of multi-colored rectangles.
* The answer is of course, is impossible to measure
** Because I am an idiot and never thought to ask her name
*** Not in those exact words, obviously