I stood with my dad in the airport in Albuquerque. It is a small airport meaning that I could wait until the last minute before going through security. And that is what I was doing... waiting. Drinking my mocha and waiting until the last minute... waiting to board the plane; waiting to be one of a few hundred people cramped into a small space for 4 hours; waiting as long as possible before I would breathe bacteria, smell indefinable scents, and be challenged to battle plane bound boredom - mine and the Diva's.
It is hard to believe that there was a time in my life, not too long ago actually, when I loved to fly. I felt at home in any airport and enjoyed the challenge of negotiating through check in and security.
An airplane meant the beginning of an adventure or the appreciation of returning from an experience.
Perhaps I am getting old and cranky, but an airplane doesn't hold that same feeling anymore. Now airplanes are crowded. They are too many people in too small a space. I know, without doubt, that my long legs and I will end up sitting behind the person who reclines their chair - their broken chair that is - on top of my lap leaving me unable to reach the overstuffed bag beneath my seat.
Flying means filling a carry on with every possible small means of entertainment for the Diva - books, Rubik's cubes, electronic games, snacks... anything and everything to fight midflight boredom.
I used to look forward to each flight with excitement. The swish of the doors opening into the departure area... walking down the jet way to the plane... finding my seat and settling in to anticipate the adventure yet to unfold... *sigh*
Now I stand, waiting until the last possible moment. Cherishing my mocha as long as humanly possible. I postpone entering the security line knowing that once I enter, I can not come back; I can not retreat, it is the land of no return!
For years I have anticipated traveling with the Diva. I want to share the love of adventure, the thirst for experience, and the quest to discover all that lies after landing with her. I want to find that love of airports and airplanes again, and I want to share it with her.
For 8 years and countless flights I have stressed, postponed, dragged my feet, and mentally cringed entering the airport - the airplane was something I prepared for but did not think about until I had no choice.
But now... well, this last flight from Albuquerque to Virginia... well, it wasn't so bad. Beyond the guy with the broken, reclined seat sitting in front of me and having to sit on the tarmac for an extra hour... it wasn't that bad.
The Diva read her book, watched the movie, only left her seat twice, and never mentioned how bored she was. She never even asked "how much longer!"
I promised that when she could handle flying cross country I would take her to Sweden (only a 9 hour flight) for vacation. Perhaps, just perhaps, she is nearly ready to fly. Perhaps, just perhaps, I am ready to discover my love for flying once again.