======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ==== ======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ====
Smell that? That’s a waft of the Balsam Fir wreath hanging from your door hitting you in the face as you leave your apartment for the next week. The sweet, sweet smell of Christmas.
And, oh! The opportunities ahead! How they shine!
Nevermind that my back already hurts from carrying my oversized suitcase down the apartment stairs because the elevator is out of order. Who cares that my Uber driver is blasting Christmas music with his Kia Sedona reeking of holiday-centric air freshener to cover up the smell of Marlboro Lights? I don’t even mind the absolutely insane amount of traffic that’s putting me in danger of missing my flight!
And arriving at the airport is just an absolute fucking delight. Remember that scene in Love Actually? You know the one — where Hugh Grant ever-so-eloquently talks about how much he loves the arrivals gate at London’s Heathrow airport? Well, I’ll tell you what — it really should’ve been about the departures.
The families traveling near and far. Just look at them. Little Bobby has snot crusted to his nose because he’s been battling a cold for the better part of a month at school. Susie is throwing a fit because she wants an American Girl Doll for Christmas (and is getting one but doesn’t know it yet!). Mom took her Xanax too far in advance for the flight, so not only is dad carrying all the kids’ luggage, but he’s also trying to shoo her away from the bar. The holidays — what a time for family.
Nevermind the fact that my flight is delayed because of a hiccup in Chicago — that doesn’t even matter to me because the security line is about as long as Little Bobby’s Christmas list. No, I’m absolutely not mad that I didn’t get TSA Pre-Check despite having TSA-fucking-Pre-Check. Why would I be mad about that? It’s not like I paid for it for times exactly like these. If anything, this gives me time to converse with my fellow man. The gentleman in front of me traveling for work because he’s the low man on the totem pole. The couple behind me having a passive-aggressive breakdown because they’re spending Christmas at her parents’ house instead of his parents’ house.
Oh, and what’s that? A service dog for a 24-year-old girl who suffers from situational anxiety? I’m glad she strapped sleighbells to his collar — that’s the spirit. I didn’t think you were allowed to pet service dogs, but that’s not stopping anyone. I also didn’t realize that Yorkies could be service dogs either, but the more you know!
But everything’s okay. No, I swear, things are great. Over yonder beyond security, I see a 23-year-old finance bro getting bombed off bloodies at the Chili’s Too. And before that is a woman pleading with TSA to let her bring her homemade eggnog aboard as if there aren’t strict guidelines prohibiting it. At least I wore my boots to the airport — these things only take about five minutes each to lace back up. I didn’t think I’d have to take them off because of that whole “having TSA Pre-Check” thing, but here I am.
Everything is great. Now that I’ve gotten to my gate, spent $6 on a coffee, and bought a New York Times from Hudson News, I can settle in and relax. Maybe toss on my headphones and watch some episodes of Narcos that I saved on my iPad. Wait, there’s a gate change that I didn’t hear about because my headphones are noise-canceling? Not a problem — I was worried about getting my steps in today.
Alrighty — new gate, new me! I won’t be lured into another scenario like I just went through. No headphones, no music; just me sitting at the gate sitting square between two of my best friends. One eating a Cinnabon, the other eating a McDonald’s McGriddle that they’re dipping in ketchup. This array of smells is almost as intoxicating as my Uber driver’s car.
Breathe in, breathe out. With all these flight cancelations, I can’t imagine that I too would be one of them. A delay here, a reroute there. There’s really nothing to fret over. Wait, no, you put that down, American Airlines employee. Don’t you dare broadcast anything to anyone. No news is good news when we’re already 90 minutes behind schedule. Just remain positive.
“Flight 2942 to Chicago has been…”
Please say moved up and back to “on time.”
“…canceled. To re-book, please form a line in front of the ticketing desk and we’ll get to you as soon as we can.”
Merry Christmas to all, and to all safe travels. .