Gate Three


My youngest sister is graduating from college. This marks the end of an era of schooling that began in 1987. Yikes!

The event merited celebration so I found myself on a flight out of Los Angeles mired in all the accompanying stresses and annoyances that come with this era of modern air travel. I like to think that I am becoming a reasonably accomplished traveler but there are a few factors I have yet to figure out to my satisfaction.

For example carry on luggage: I am a light packer but I still greatly prefer to check a main suitcase so that I only have a small item that will fit beneath the seat in front of me with still a bit of leg room. The problem is that I have yet found a bag that is big enough for everything I want to keep on hand but small enough to fit under the seat and, most importantly and hardest to find is a bag that allows me to get at all the good stuff inside it without taking it out from under the seat. A messenger bag opens on the wrong side. A roll aboard is too big to go under the seat. A tote doesn’t close.

You get the idea.

Then there is the question of snacks. Some airlines actually still do give snacks and trust me when I say that I do factor that in choosing a carrier. But on a four hour flight a baggie of crackers just isn’t going to keep you full. The obvious solution is to pack a bag lunch but that comes with the added dilemma  of having to eat in front of someone who didn’t bring something. This isn’t probably as big of a deal as I think it is but it makes me so uncomfortable that I’d rather be hungry than rude.

The biggest problem, however, is filling the time. I just can’t sleep on a plane: at least not deeply enough to be restful. Nor can I comfortably write or draw or do any useful work. My phone does not seem to carry enough battery charge to play games or watch movies and, of course, there is no phone service and often no internet. Reading is my best bet. This involves packing books which has its own set of decisions: buy or borrow? A big book that will last the whole trip or smaller books so that I can check the one I’m not reading? A book I know I’ll like or risk bringing a classic? I lucked out on this trip with a book called “The Rook” which is both an easy read and nearly a thousand pages. If I can resist the impulse to read it while at home I should be able to read it on the flight home too.

In true traveler fashion I am writing this from the back of a moving vehicle on the way to the university where the graduation will be held and we have just hit stop and go traffic. So to ward off carsickness I should wrap this up.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 8, 2013.

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