I have those pre-trip jitters. I have no reason to feel this way. I mean, people travel all the time and things just go fine. But I Am NOT one of those people. That’s the problem. Mind you I have never, ever been a “frequent traveler” — well except when I was making all those trips to Toronto to confirm that the murmuring ex-husband wasn’t going to bail on me. (I never was sure about that one.) But other than that time, I only took trips once or twice a year to Ohio or Spain or visits to other sisters or brothers and that’s it. Ask my cats. They can confirm that I have been a homebody these many years that I’ve lived in Toronto — and, more importantly, they would say that that is Hunky-Dory Just Fine, Thank You Very Much, with them.
The problem is that when I do travel I get all messed up and nervous and all that stuff. A friend of mine said recently that travel “frightens” her these days. Oh, she isn’t worried about terrorists or plane crashes or car pile-ups on the way to the airport. No, she gets paralyzed just thinking about facing airport crowds and those long, long lines waiting to get that surly, unpleasant customer service from the airline folks and then more long lines and that intimidating once-over by security and customs officers and all that even before the engines start up. No, she says, she can’t face that any more and, therefore, she doesn’t go anywhere.
But I can’t do that. I always long to travel especially at this time of the year. It’s still winter. It was minus-23 degrees Celsius yesterday — that’s minus-9 ish for all you Fahrenheit folks. And the temperature was only part of it. It was snowing and blowing and miserable. I trudged through it, though, because I was going to get the key to my escape. I’ve been given an amazing opportunity to spend a week in a friend’s condo across the street from the Gulf of Mexico. Ah! It has a heated pool on the grounds and is walking distance to bars, shops, cafes, funky “old-Florida” dives, and a porpoise watching beach. No car needed! And if I want to go further afield, there’s a sweet little trolley that runs up and down this island and the one next door just to take the likes of me to other cafes, bars, restaurants and sunset-watching spots. And, to add to my joy, my sister, Mary, is going to meet me there. Isn’t all that worth the hassles of airports?
I used to love flying. I’d go early to the airport just to be in the middle of the hustle and excitement of people going somewhere — and not because I would miss my plane if I didn’t get there hours and hours ahead of time. No, before 9/11, you could arrive in the nick of time and catch your plane. I remember one time when I was going off to meet a boyfriend in Atlanta, another fellow took me to the airport. We arrived with minutes to spare. He ran with me all the way down that long corridor and we got there just as the doors were about to close. It was exciting. I think he was secretly sorry that I made the plane — afterwards, I think I would have had more fun if I had missed it!
It was also nice when people could meet you at the gate. Whenever I arrived in Columbus from DC, I knew that at the end of that long tunnel from the plane would be my Dad or my sister and usually one or two or three of my nieces and nephews. It was easy, sweet even. None of this trudging all alone through no-man’s land to get to the exit and then having to call whoever was picking you up in order to arrange a meeting place. Although, I have to admit, that I always preferred that people not wait until my plane was leaving. I just wanted them to say goodbye in the car so I wouldn’t cry.
But I think a week away from snow and cold and darkness is a good tradeoff to having to be at the airport at 6:00 a.m. for an 8:30 a.m. flight and having to spend too of much of my life in lines. I’ll even smile at the surly service — at least on the way down. I don’t know about coming back — it will, definitely, still be winter here.
P.S. If any of you read my blog last week about my lost keys, I’d like to report that I did, indeed, find them the same day that I had others made. I know Rose put those back in my purse when she saw the new ones. I can’t imagine what kind of pranks she’ll pull when I come back from being gone a week!