A friend is headed abroad this week, and he texts me that he is (impatiently) waiting out a flight cancellation. Seriously, he tries to blame me for his travel misadventure?…Ha! Those days are long gone for this traveler. I live in the moment when in an airport. The panic of lost luggage, battery depletion on my iPod, missed flights, and even crazy weather are child’s play compared to what I’ve enjoyed.
But his frustration forces reflection on the concept of travel snobbery, a missed 80’s sniglet:
- You get the call. Flight changed. Forced to rebook with an automated voice machine. (Anxiety begins)
- This changed flight requires a new plane due to maintenance needs. All signs of making the next plane are unpredictable. (Anxiety increases) Personally, I like my planes to fly, so I am just happy to be told in advance.
- Almost to the terminal, but wait, the TSA line is backed up…and these are NOT high priority travelers. These are mixed up, newbie’s in the wrong line. What’s that, travel snob? “The security guard is letting them through anyway. I hate that. I paid for this, and I earned it.” (Yes, you did, and the newbie’s are laughing their way to your gate before you even remove your shoes.)
- Before you board, you stop by the fancy-schmancy lounge where woven steel reinforcement and raw timber pillars offer relaxation in a carefree natural environment so you can escape from the real world. Grab that $400 orange with cell phone to ear, and soak up the free WiFi with the other travelers who also seek the “I never stop working” appearance.
- Seating rearranged. If you are one of those elite, ‘double dog dare platinum ruby diva royal’ frequent travelers, you will still have plenty of time to hoard overhead space for your larger than appropriate suitcase AND carry-on, but uh-oh, a seating snafu places you in the middle seat. The flight attendant can only offer a warm cookie, but he promises to shine those travel loafers. Probably best to just focus on the overhead as the win and bunker down. (Heart beat increasing, body heat building as the regular joe’s of travel start to board.)
- Seated. Middle seat. Ok, so this placement becomes critical pending seasonality, duration of flight, size of passenger in A-B and/or C seating.
This is my friend’s current challenge. A bigger, well, manly man and expert traveler, he has won the middle seat for this particular flight, and he is not thrilled. I am encouraging the brighter side…
- You can head-bob in two directions, save yourself the neck pillow purchase AND awaken both fresh and symmetrical….just borrow a neighbor in both directions.
- No need for freshening rose spray to moisturize, just lean in for the experience of what an old colleague liked to call “bobo” (body odor). Nothing like the experience of buying airplane scent full of breath, body and stale air.
- Enjoy the primary love language of touch each time you cross, uncross, swivel, twist and recline near your new neighbor friends.
- Embrace the headphone splitter with both neighbors and get three movies off the list in one fell swoop.
- Ask for a tip each time the window guy needs his beverage refilled.
- Place your man purse anywhere you like, because well, you are big, and no one will tease you (out loud).
- And best yet, engage your aisle neighbor in the standard new traveler questions, such as “What do you do?” “Where are you headed?” “Do you own cats?” each time you need your overhead man purse or a trip to the restroom.
Live in the moment. Make a new friend. Be gentle with the new travelers. Offer to take down an elderly lady’s bag. Look at this as an experiment in a return to the days of ‘regular joe traveler.’ No expense account. No fancy lounge. Just you, a suitcase and a smile.
Cheers to the golden moments of travel misadventure and 80s sniglets.
* Sniglet is a neologism, popularized by comedian/actor Rich Hall during his tenure on the 1980s HBO comedy series Not Necessarily the News. Each episode of the monthly series featured a regular segment on sniglets, which Hall described as “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sniglet)