Plays Well With Others

My Monthly…

Part of my job involves a monthly visit to Salt Lake City, Utah.  I know, I know…how’d I get so lucky.  Try to contain your jealousy.

You might think I’m here to visit my other ten wives, get in touch with my secret Mormon tendencies or to visit Heather Armstrong of Dooce fame.  But no.  I come to review a monthly publication we do.  I fly in and then fly out five hours later.

I leave the house at around 4:45 A.M. to arrive at the airport by 5 A.M. for my 6 A.M. flight.  It’s dark, the roads are empty and people are roasting quietly in their beds.  It’s just me and the cat that early in the morning.

The airport is filled mostly with business travelers, caffeine in hand, rushing from one place to another.   I head straight for the self check-in, swipe my credit card, print my boarding pass and go straight to the screening area.

Ah…what a wonderful experience.  Once you get through the line like cattle, you are forced to drop shoes, watches, wallets, jackets, belts, computers and anything else that could possibly set off the screening machine into little flat bins.  At this point, I’m practically down to my tighty whiteys by the time I hit the conveyer belt.

Once through that, it’s smooth sailing.  And once in the plane, it’s hoping and praying that I’ll get a row to myself.  Typically, flights at this hour are fairly empty.  And fortunately, I’ve had a few flights where my row has been empty.

Last flight home, I sat next to a young flight attendent, who’d only been on the job for a few months.  She was on her way to California to spend a couple of months on-call—until the busy season.  We chatted quite a bit during the last hour of the flight.  Typically I don’t chat much, but she started it and I couldn’t really sit there and ignore her.

Today’s flight in was also very quiet.  People typically sleep, aside from the couple with the screaming kid.  God.  There’s a part of me that wants to tell them to shut their kid up, and then there’s a part of me that feels for them.  I mean, how do you shut an unhappy kid up.  Kids don’t care.  You can’t really have a discussion with them about how they are bothering people.  They don’t care.  It’s all about them and what they’re feeling at that very moment.  And they know that if they scream, mom and dad will do just about anything to make them stop.  Good times.

I could overhear the people behind me.  From the pieces of conversation, it sounded like the kid—maybe 16—had been “kidnapped” to Utah to spend time at an outdoor camp for troubled teens.  He’d be spending a lot of time outdoors, camping and being around other teens.  He had no luggage or anything, just the clothes on his back.  You have to wonder what he did and what will become of him.

I’m a couple hours in at this point and lunch is around the corner.  There’s also supposed to be a snow storm right around the time I’m heading home.  Snow. Can’t find that in the part of California I live in.  Now that’s something to look forward to.

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