Thursday, October 06, 2011

Travelogue: Minnesota – Departure

“I love it when a plan comes together!”

Saga is at the kennel (the doggie spa), my home is all buttoned-up for the weekend, I’ve left the heat running “just in case...”, and I am sitting at the departure gate for my flight in the Denver International Airport. Is it, perhaps, a holiday that I am not aware of? The airport is unusually crowded for a Thursday afternoon.

Or is it? Come to think of it, I am not entirely certain that I have ever actually travelled on a Thursday. Or if I have, it didn’t make an impression on me. The day has been a good one so far – Saga was excited to go with Daddy for a ride in the car! She was even excited to see that we were going to the park next to the kennel I would have thought she knew about the gate in the fence between the park and the kennel. She stayed excited right up to the time we actually entered the kennel to check her in. Then she started looking worried. Poor baby – she will forgive me once she starts getting the doggie treats!

The drive to the airport was uneventful (other than having to make a last-minute change of strategy half-way here. I had wanted to take the back way that brings me in from the north. It is a couple miles longer, but it is usually much faster – usually but not always. The exception is on days (like today) when they decide to close it because of an accident. Luckily my trusty GPS told me of the closing – unfortunately I still had to sit in traffic for 20 minutes to get to the next exit.

The parking experience was a good one –I got in, got on the shuttle and got off at my airline without any real delay. And since I had built plenty of padding into my schedule today, even the lines at the checkpoint were not trying to my nerves.

Once through security, I had a nice lunch and am now settled in. There is about an hour ‘til my flight. Nothing to do but read the book I have loaded on my tablet for the trip. I have to somehow remember this. The trip has been the most stress-free I have taken in recent memory. As a matter of fact, the only real stress of the entire day was in the security line.

I had been assigned to the priority line (along with about a third of the people there) and was happily waiting in line to get to the checkpoint when this couple walked up the “Uniformed Crew Only” lane. I was already beyond the queue and was third in line to hand-over my passport and ticket when I saw them. They traipsed to the head of the line as if they were entitled to do so and as if nobody else in the line had anything better to be doing today! I watched as they tried to break into the line at the head a number of times (unsuccessfully) and were finally let in by the person Who was about to step-up to the queue at the desk. They got to the desk as I did and I saw that they had a ticket that wasn’t even marked to allow them into the priority line anyway.

The TSA agent had turned to me to take my ticket when the guy cleared his throat to get his attention. I was glad to see the agent continue to inspect my ticket before turning to the couple. I heard the guy as I stepped off to the screening queue but (thankfully) didn’t really hear any of the exchange. It reminds me of the definition of stress that I remember: “Stress is the name given to the confusion which arises from the mind’s overriding to the body’s natural desire to throttle the shit out of some ass who clearly and desperately deserves it!”

I have entertained myself for the past hour picturing that delightful prospect of them shooting-off their mouth to the TSA and being treated to their “Special” screening techniques – the one that they do in that little room off to one side. The one that starts with the agent saying :“Could you please step aside and follow this agent?”

But that is not what today is about: today is about not being stressed – today is about the zen of travel!

Wherever you are, I hope that your day has been largely stress-free!

Don Bergquist – October 06, 2011 – Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado, USA

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