I travel a relatively great deal. And, overwhelmingly, I enjoy it. True, it interferes with reading, research, and writing — and I recall Hugh Nibley’s withering words about “scholars” who spend more time in airports than in libraries — but I see interesting things and meet interesting people.
I always hate getting ready for a trip, though. I’m always desperately trying to finish things off that need to be finished, wishing I had more time. Wishing, in fact, that I weren’t going at all.
And the worst time is waking up on the morning of a very long flight. Looking ahead to five, eight, fourteen hours of being cramped in small seats, deprived of sleep, unable to fit my legs into the space ahead of me. And, especially years ago when my wife seldom if ever came with me, there was the depression of taking leave of family.
I’m fine when I get there — especially, on long trips, after a nap — but getting there is . . . well, less exciting.
When the chief cabin steward says, at the end of a lengthy flight, “We hope you’ve enjoyed flying with us,” I always mutter that, no, I haven’t. Some flights are more endurable than others. None are precisely fun.
Of course, it’s all relative. Whenever I’m eating a sumptuous meal of pretzels and looking out my window, yearning for the end of a transcontinental flight, I wonder how sympathetic the handcart pioneers would be to my inner whining. And, bad as transoceanic flights are, they’re preferable, I’m pretty sure, to six weeks in steerage on a small and very insecure vessel amidst massive ocean waves.
Many, many years ago, I saw a cartoon of The Jetsons, the Hanna-Barbera family that represented the distant-future equivalent of the same company’s Flintstones franchise. It showed Mrs. Jetson casually tossing a pill or lozenge into a large plexiglass-looking box. Instantly, a turkey appeared, with all the trimmings. ”Oh,” she sighed. ”Cooking is such a chore.”
Posted from the Salt Lake Airport.