Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How Quickly We Forget

Sometimes experience breeds impatience, especially when it comes to dealing with summer "fun" vacationers.

Yes, we road warriors know the ropes, even when said ropes occasionally slip off our Big Experienced Heads and settle around our vulnerable necks, such as when we forget our hotel room numbers (Where am I? Which time zone? What floor?), mindlessly leave our laptops at a checkpoint (THANK YOU, those of you who have done this too, since you make me feel not so alone) or settle our weary backsides in the wrong seat, even though we know better. But aside from those incidental and understandable slip-ups, we have our drills down pat and we stick to them.

Oh, we might grumble about the three ounce liquid limits, mandatory shoe removal and an occasional random wanding (peace be with you, oh ye always-wanded knee and hip replacement folks), but we "get" those rules and prepare ahead for them. True, perhaps we've lost (okay, handed over) a nail clipper attached to a pocket knife we forgot we used at home and stuck in our pockets, misplaced a boarding pass or donned earrings big enough to catch a lunker muskie which triggered the HIGH-ALERT BUZZER, but we usually make it to our seat-belt clicks without causing much disturbance.

After all, we are Professional Travelers. We aren't "those" people who arrive dragging kids and fifty-five pound suitcases, tuck cans of pop in our carry-on bags and don't understand that even gym shoes now need to be plopped in a plastic bin. We're not "those" people who only fly once every year or two and apparently haven't heard an ounce of news since 9-11. "Those" people who cause security back-ups and confusion, boarding processes slower than sludge spreads on a flat surface, and then twirl down the aisles thwacking people in the heads with their mongo backpacks.

No, we're not "those" people who are loud, on their way to Vegas, can't imagine why they're not seated together and therefore must YELL "FUNNY" (right) exchanges over the heads of the eleven rows between them while waiting for us all to laugh. Who don't take our evil-eye glares seriously. Who we'd like to. . . .

Okay, so these ongoing behaviors might get me a teensy testy this summer. But maybe that's because if I looked hard enough at myself I might discover a smidgen of jealousy that all this business travel has knocked the thrill of "fun vacation travel" out of me. I'd love to once again feel the excitement and happy anticipation of heading to the airport with sheer WAHOO! in my heart.

Maybe, if I examined myself closely, I'd be a little envious of the people who don't know all the rules because they didn't give so much of their lives away keeping up with them. Even though having their items confiscated and going through the screening process three times isn't fun to either experience or stand in line behind, there is something rather grand about realizing how jazzed they likely were when they stuffed their lucky charms in their pockets and their beverages in their backpacks. That when they donned their most comfy shoes, they didn't think about how funky they smell because it never occurred to them anyone else would have such a lengthy bin-shoving opportunity to find out.

Since I'm fessing up here, I shall also admit that I witnessed one of life's most beautiful moments between vacation travelers and the family member waiting to meet them. The greeter knelt down, swooped the little boy into her arms and exclaimed, "I'm so excited to see you that my heart is beating sooooo fast!" She took hold of the small child's pudgy hand and pressed it to her heart. "Feel that?"

Perhaps with a little patience and a lot of tolerance we can all--flight newbies and two-billion mile pros--learn from each other. Yes, if the security line is long enough, maybe the occasional traveler will watch enough of we seasoned vets to get the procedure down pat by the time they step up to the checkpoint. But what's in it for us? you ask. Hm.

Perhaps if we leave the heavy baggage of jadedness on the curb, take note of cheerful vacation energies, closely study joyful reunions and allow an old happy traveling memory or two of our own to resurface, we'll regain a bit o' the traveling magic ourselves. In fact, I hope we DO!

I also hope a thwacking backpack to the eye socket doesn't swiftly knock it right out of us.

No comments: