9 Rules For Chillin at the Airport

Ok...so those of you who follow me on twitter know two things about me...

First, I hate flying. I use the word hate because using the phrase "am afraid of" makes me sound very very weak. So I 'm going with hate because it makes me sound way more badass than I actually am. On the best and most beautiful of days--like the one when Eric and I flew across the Aegean Sea to the stunning island of Naxos--I still white-knuckle my way through the flights.

Second, I am currently sitting in the airport, waiting for a flight to take off for Nashville. I have been sitting here, at gate D3, since 2:15pm. It is now 5:30. My first flight was supposed to leave at 3:30. It was cancelled due to thunderstorms. Now, I love me some thunderstorms. Big, earth shaking, Summer thunderstorms make me very very happy. It's the east coaster in me. Summer just isn't summer without them. I do not, however, love me some thunderstorms when there is a possibility that the long, skinny, metal tube in which I am FLYING might be struck by lightning and send me crashing a full on MILE to the hard, unyielding ground.

For several years, I've suffered through the anxiety of flying, until recently I had a long chat with my dr., who assured me that this was entirely manageable and not through some kind of meditative state (I've tried that stuff, too). She told me to take a pill an hour before I fly. A chill pill if you will. And I tried that this time. Now, it's totally possible that it will wear off before I actually get myself to Nashville--more likely, it will wear off before I actually get myself on the plane. But...what it has done is calm me down enough to notice how cool airports can be, when not consumed by thoughts of which one of my friends will accept responsibility for my romance novel collection should I fall out of the sky.

So...9 Rules for Chillin' at the Airport:

9. Buy Auntie Annie's Pretzels. They're yummy. And incredibly bad for you. But it's the airport, and everyone knows that travel calories don't count. This is also true for Nutter Butter cookies and Chex Mix (Now with 60% less fat!).

8. Stake out a chair near an electrical outlet. It will definitely be in use when you arrive. But eventually, that person will (hopefully) go somewhere where you are not going. And when they unplug, you plug in. immediately. securing that electrical outlet will take cunning and skill. Outlet-landing is my proposal for the next Olympic sport.

7. If someone strikes up a conversation with you...don't give them the brush off. This is particularly challenging for people like me--born and bred in the Northeast and now a full-blooded New Yorker--but these people can be a godsend. First, they are willing to watch your ridiculously heavy carry-on if you have to go check the status of your flight -- Now Cancelled -- and second, they have TERRIFIC stories. I literally spent an hour talking to a 65 year old man who was trying to understand why his 47 year old wife wanted to leave him because he drank too much. It was a lot less depressing than you'd expect...and I was sad when he got called to leave. Godspeed, Pete.

6. Watch CNN. I love CNN and I don't get to watch it enough, except for my (as you know) secret passion for Anderson Cooper. Wolf Blitzer is loud and I wonder about his regimen for keeping his beard silky smooth, but CNN is the best of the cable news networks, and it's nice to just be able to just chill out and think about the world. Also...as an aside, jeez you guys...stay out of tanning beds!!

5. Drink Water. Airplanes are dehydrating. And, if you're like me, you don't drink the required 8 8-ounce glasses a day. There's no reason not to start here, where you might be stuck for way more hours than you think.

4. Goggle at the children who are required to wear the same clothes as their siblings. Parents, you realize that this really doesn't make it easier to find your kids. Also, it's just embarrassing. Really.

3. Wonder about the guy across the aisle reading Bon Appetit. Dapper...nice shoes...dark jeans...grey blazer...strong, patrician nose. What's he doing going to Nashville? And does he want to cook me dinner there?

2. Feel sorry for the poor saps who are stuck on the tarmac. For THREE hours. Are you kidding? I'd be murdering someone out there right now. It'd take a lot more than an anxiety pill to cure me of that angst.

1. Wonder what the odds are that you're ever going to actually get off the ground. And realize that it's cool...the longer you are here in the terminal, you're not out there.

And, hey! Your blog got updated, right?