Most people I know find airports and holiday traveling the embodiment of stress or the seventh circle of hell, as the case may be. Admittedly, fumbling in security lines to unzip your boots while the hordes of impatient strangers stare you down (as well as the occasional creeper comments about stripping from the guy behind you…really? really?! Keep calm and unleash the withering stare) and the endless internal debates regarding whether or not your innocuous pumpkin spice soy candle counts as a liquid are clinically proven to amp up the blood pressure. But strange as it may sound, although exhausted and utterly defeated by the five papers you’ve written in the past 72 hours, a few extra hours stranded in an airport can be too good to be true. Almost as good as being stranded in the Emerald City, if they ever decided to open a Starbucks there.
I simply settled down with my tall peppermint white chocolate mocha, a chocolate chip muffin, and a slender novel called Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Browsed through the classics section of the bookstore, with absolutely no intention of purchasing anything, and discovered that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (mind blown). Just sat there, watching the people stream by, chase after their escaping children, trip over suitcases, marveling at the automatic trash dispenser, and secretly referring to it as Wall-E in my thoughts. There is nothing better than having no-strings attached free time, except possibly having that free time with an unlimited supply of coffee, junk food, and literature within your grasp.
Skipping the awkward dance of edging up to the boarding lines as we wait for the appropriate zone to be called, for the sake of argument…
Airplanes are wonderful respites from responsibility. Suspended in the air, with no place to go and nothing to do, I’m left alone with my thoughts and the opportunity of conversation with strangers who have no expectations. Introvert paradise. I’ve engaged in two and half hour conversations with my randomly assigned seat-mates covering topics I haven’t broached with friends of ten years. It was also an airplane seat-buddy that first introduced me to the films of Christopher Nolan. If that’s not a testimony of quality, I don’t know what is.
And if this aforementioned stranger happens to slump against the seat-back and snore after the initial greetings, the sky is the limit (and yes, ladies and gentlemen, that terrible pun was indeed intended). So what did I do? I decided to start another novel, naturally! Perhaps the back-ups of its back-ups will end up deleted like all of its unfortunate predecessors, maybe there will actually be something salvageable from the first draft. But for better or worse, the first page has been penned, and visions of future paragraphs are dancing in my head.