I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Saturday, December 21, 2013


The journey not the arrival matters

That's the title of one volume of Leonard Woolf's autobiography, and though the quote is sometimes attributed to Eliot and sometimes to Montaigne, no one seems to know who actually said it first.

I've always loved the quote, and found it valuable when considering journeys both physical and metaphorical, even when applied to air travel, which the airlines are doing their best to squeeze every last drop of romance and excitement from. I'm at the airport now, on my way to Slidell, Louisiana for Christmas, and this morning's adventures have been one long tedious reminder of why I try not to fly during the holidays. I understand that airports are crowded and it's a very stressful time for everyone in the travel industry as well as for the passengers, but my God, do they all have to be so surly?

From the shuttle driver who arrived half an hour late, to the United personnel at checkin who seemed to think it was my fault that my luggage check hadn't printed on their side of the barricade and so they didn't realize I'd finished checking in and felt free to ignore me, to the kid who left the baggage collection area unattended so I couldn't drop off my suitcase, every single one of them gave me snarls instead of a simple "I'm sorry." The fact that they didn't tell me my flight was in a different terminal until after I'd checked in and surrendered my suitcase was just the icing on the cake. I might still see that bag again. Someday.

On the other hand, for some reason I had a TSA pre-screening, and I got to speed through a security checkpoint with no lines, wearing my shoes and coat and leaving my laptop packed away. That felt like Christmas, and went a long way to restoring my holiday spirits.

At least until I actually get on the plane…..

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