Back in my TV days living as an adrenalin junkie, I loved seeing how close I could cut my arrival times at the airport. Heart-bursting races to the gate were a bizarre badge of honor signifying my cavalier attitude towards jet travel. Collapsing in my seat, wiping the sweat from my eyes, I’d casually order a scotch and water from the stewardess as soon as I could catch my breath. And if it were 8:00 am so much the better.
See? Exuding a superior attitude, I sipped my scotch, glancing at the pedestrian travelers around me drinking crappy coffee and coke. I’m an important TV person. I live on jets. I’m cool. I know Howard Cosell. I am somebody.
(No wonder I was called to write a book about the ego! I know that sucker so very well!)
Strangely, I never missed a flight. Never have missed a flight … until this morning.
What possessed me to book a 6 am plane to San Jose (CA) I have no idea. I got up “on time” at 3:15. I left the house “on time.” But then I spaced the airport exit. And then I missed the shuttle bus from the parking lot. And then the check-in kiosk refused to grant me a boarding pass. And then the lines were horrific.
And then the airline attendant said, “There’s a $25 rebooking fee.” And that was that.
The closest I ever came to missing a plane before was actually a flight out of Quito, Ecuador in 2009 when I had—I kid you not—a 15-hour layover. I was sitting in the empty departure lounge, wondering where everybody else was, when an airline attendant came bursting through the doors gibbering in Spanish, grabbed me and shoved me down some back passages to get me to the plane that was about to depart.
But I digress.
I have to say, now that I’ve had the experience, there’s something calming about missing a flight. The rush is over. There’s nothing you can do. You have all the time in the world to get through security. Your TSA pre-check is wasted but you have a great chat with one of the security guards. You stand in a long long coffee line that would normally set your teeth grinding and enjoy talking to fellow travelers. You sip coffee watching the sun hit the snow-capped Olympic mountains. You eat a relaxed breakfast, catch up on emails and write a blog with plenty of time to spare.
It’s a pause. A suspension of forward motion.
And it’s actually quite delicious.