It never fails to amaze me. Whenever I think, “I don’t want to leave” or “I wish I could stay,” my train or plane connection is delayed. This happened recently. I was staying at the best B&B, having a great time with my warm, hospitable host. I wish I could stay longer, I thought. She dropped me at the airport at 12:45pm for my 2:00 flight. All was well when I checked in. By the time I reached my gate, my flight had been delayed indefinitely, and later cancelled. After standing in line for three and a half hours, my airline rebooked me on a red eye. I decided to make the most of it. After all, when would I have the opportunity to explore the Anchorage Airport again?
Luckily, I was wearing my Smart socks. I could roam as I pleased and not get blisters. Plus, they would keep me entertained with their running commentary on the fleet of feet passing by: “Cool toe socks.” “Did you see that sparkling nail polish?” “Flip-flops in Anchorage? Isn’t too cold for those?” They also had insightful things to say about world politics (or was it the World Cup?). As usual, they were more on top of things than I was. Must be the PhD in them.
As we strolled up and down the expansive gray corridors, I periodically took out my binoculars to examine the flora and fauna. “Whoa. Look at that. Species Homo Sapiens coming my way. And check out at that thing sticking out of her ear. Is that a cell phone? Wait, wait, it must be a Bluetooth. I’ve heard so much about them.” Every so often, I paused to thumb through my worn copy of Field Guide To North American Airports. I could hardly stand still I was so excited, as I identified iPods, iPads, Blackberries, and Kindles. I checked them all off my life list. I had seen so many I could reserve a certificate proving how tech savvy I was. What a lucky duck I was.
Speaking of, I heard a few chirps that rang a bell. Something was atwitter. Someone was texting, someone was tweeting. Such pleasant sounds to my ear.
I visited a few Restrooms for quality control purposes. A feeling of calm descended over me as I held my palms under the faucet. I felt grateful for the chance to meditate as the water sprinkled over my hands.
I wanted to get some air, but didn’t want to have to go through Security again. The first time around, I got stopped. The officer brought the bin to the counter. "Don't touch anything," she said. She opened my wallet, peering inside at the bills and the coins. She picked up my hiking boots. Then she pounced on my blue fleece vest. Eagerly, she grabbed the outside of my right pocket, unzipping it. She looked like she had found the contraband, which she gleefully pulled out. She scowled at my collection of used, dirty crumpled tissues in her hands.
Certainly, my tissues didn’t want to have to face that again.
So, I continued meandering, visiting the sunny observation deck on the second floor. steering clear of the view of airplanes taking off (too traumatic) and instead admiring the snow-capped mountains. Which excelled at standing still, waiting for whatever came next. I also enjoyed looking at the Native Art exhibit.
My feet twinged. They were smarting, and not because they had a PhD. They throbbed and griped about all the walking.
What’s a visit to the airport without a free Brookstone’s massage? I traipsed over, and plopping into the massage chair, I slid my aching feet into the black-sided slots, pressing the button. The sides vibrated. They clutched my feet. Seconds ticked by, then minutes. My feet were stuck. They wouldn't budge. Fretting, I dug my fingers into the sides of the chair. I’d miss my red eye. I’d never escape. I’d have to spend the rest of my life in the airport.
The sides started undulating again.
Whew. I breathed out a sigh of relief. Close call.
They pushed and kneaded, mashed and squeezed my feet.
I turned the machine off. My feet were free to go as they pleased. I soon followed. I’m attached, and I wanted to thank them for their efforts. I’d perform a blessing of the feet.
Causes Eva Schlesinger Supports
Center For Young Women's Development
Alameda County Library Foundation