Paris… Copenhagen… Ljubljana… Montreal… Berlin… Prague… Krakow…
With a passport featuring stamps from these cities (and more), you probably wouldn’t expect that I HATE to travel.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to see the world. Poking around a foreign country is one of my favorite things. Especially when my husband is right there with me.
But the actual traveling part… The packing… Getting to and from airports… Waiting in security lines… Waiting for the plane… Waiting on the plane… Gripping the armrests as the plane takes off and lands… Waiting to see if my luggage has arrived…
Which is in part why it’s taken me three days to recover from my recent business trip. While I love spending time with my clients, I hate hate hate traveling.
Fortunately, travel offers multiple opportunities to enjoy the varied facets of human nature. Here are just a few encounters I had on my recent voyage south…
– The people who either have been so beaten over the head with “airline procedure” that they are now blind or are merely oblivious to the world outside them. The airport I flew out of had one of those new air-blower scanners. You know, you stand inside a little chamber, the machine puffs air at you, the doors open, and you walk through. Apparently, you are supposed to wear your shoes while inside the machine. (Although they make you remove them AFTER you go through the machine, and send them through the normal x-ray conveyor. The air puffer thing must still be in beta.)
Anyway, there was a big sign posted right before the stacks of plastic tubs into which travelers deposit their purses, coats, shoes, and other paraphernalia. The sign said, in big, bold letters: DO NOT REMOVE SHOES BEFORE ENTERING TRACK SCANNER (or something along those lines)
Probably 90% of the people in the security line completely ignored the sign. They removed their shoes. Some of them removed their shoes WITHIN INCHES of the sign. A little TSA agent kept scurrying around, trying to get people to put their shoes back on… and escorting the unshod around the air puffer machine. It was kind of hilarious.
– The random people who strike up conversations with you in odd places. First there was the custodian in the airport bathroom who sang songs in between chatting with travelers. She wished me a most blessed day with the sweetest, most genuine voice I’ve ever heard. Then there was the sixtyish woman in line behind me at the newsstand, who told me all about her naughty little dog and how she couldn’t wait to get home to him.
Lonely? Socially inept? Just plain friendly? Maybe. But in a world where we are constantly inventing new ways to NOT have personal interactions with others, I find this mix of confidence and cluelessness to be particularly refreshing.
– The lovely older couple waiting patiently for the plane to board. The gentleman was wearing a polo shirt, jeans, and an eye patch over his left eye. His companion was wearing jeans, a grandmotherly hairstyle, and a pink shirt that said “Pirate Princess” in sparkly letters across the chest.
– All the people who cannot seem to figure out where their seats are. For instance, the cranky confused woman who told me that she was SURE she had the window seat. I smiled at her as she waited for me to give up my window seat. (Hell to the no.) She muttered under her breath as she moved her handbag from under my seat to under the aisle seat.
Or the older lady with her elderly mother, who were ousted from one side of the plane to the other by the seat’s rightful occupant. The elderly mother struggled to move, and we waited a good ten minutes for the two of them to maneuver across the aisle.
For god’s sakes. It’s not rocket science, people!
What’s your most memorable travel experience?