Sometimes it might be best to just stay home.
I remember the days when taking a trip by plane was a big adventure. Everyone got dressed up to go on a plane. Things ran on time. You could buy a ticket for one price instead of having to pay extra for seat choice, for something to eat and for breathing the oxygen on the plane.
Maybe it seemed like an adventure because I was much younger. I have found that older I get, the easier it is to get irritated.
I remember way back in the 1960s when I was just a little guy, my dad and I flew back to Dayton from Washington, D.C., where my oldest brother lived. I remember I was sick and the stewardesses treated me like I was royalty. They had empty seats in first class so they moved us up there. I even got a little set of wings to pin on my shirt! It was one of the highlights of my childhood.
Back to the present: the plan was to fly to Denver to visit my grandchildren and their parents for Thanksgiving. We bought the tickets months in advance. We did all the pre-flight stuff on-line. On the day of the flight, we drove to Columbus (because while you can find lots of warehouses at the Dayton airport, getting a good price on a commercial flight to Denver is basically impossible) and made our way to gate B-31.
It was a beautiful, sunny day. We expected we would board our flight and get off pretty much on time.
Lesson No. 1 when flying these days: Don’t take anything for granted.
When we arrived at the gate, we noticed there were a lot of people there. Way more people than could fit on one plane. There were people everywhere. A year ago, we were all trying to make sure we kept six feet in between us and other humans. Not anymore.
There were three planes lined up at gate B-31. The other gates nearby didn’t seem to be in use. Why not just shuffle one of those planes to another gate?
The poor people in the planes on the tarmac sat there for an hour. The only thing we could figure is that they just didn’t have enough people to work the gates. There were two people doing all the work at the gate for three flights. We ended up leaving an hour late.
This is really not that big of a deal, at least for us. It was a big deal for people who were hoping to make a connecting flight in Denver and for those people who sat on the runway for an hour. There’s nothing worse than landing at your destination, getting ready to grab your bag and head off the plane, then have to sit there for an hour a few feet from the terminal.
The flight itself was fine. The stewards on the plane managed to make the best of a bad situation, and all seemed well when we arrived in Denver.
Well, almost. Remember all those people packed in around that one gate in Columbus? The day after I got to Denver, I started to feel not so well. Sinus problems. Coughing. I always have a little trouble with the altitude when I go to Denver – I’ve spent my whole life at about 800 feet above sea level, so the thinner air in Colorado slows me down. I felt kind of like a 66-year-old guy going on 100.
I had just recovered from COVID a few weeks before, but was it possible I was getting another dose? Was this the COVID rebound I had been hearing about? I decided I had better take the test. There’s nothing quite so suspenseful as waiting to see how a COVID test comes out. First, the control line shows up. Then I had to wait to see if the second line would appear. While I waited, I wondered what I would do if the test was positive. It would sure mess up my travel plans to get home. The clock ticked off the mandatory 15 minutes. No line! No COVID!
As I write this I still felt pretty lousy but at least I will be able to take my scheduled flight and get home on time – well, depending on how the flight goes. We’ll have to wait and see.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected]