Monday, September 30, 2013


When I tell folks that I’ve been to places like Korea and Australia, they always say the same thing.

“Oh, I would love to travel like that. That’s so exciting.”

No. It’s not. It’s brutal.

It’s thirteen hours at a pop squished in an airplane seat the size and shape of no one, and unless a person is the general consistency of pudding I cannot imagine anyone but a pudding pop person flying comfortably.

Traveling is not exciting.

Arriving is exciting. Arriving is the part of traveling that has something going for it.

Unfortunately, by the time  many travelers get to the arriving part they have been going through the traveling part for so long they have a difficult time appreciating the actual getting to where they’re going part.  And the more you travel, the worse it gets.

My husband of thirty-plus years travels a lot for his work. When I say a lot I mean he has been fondled by strangers in airports on every major continent except Africa. It’s starting to take its toll.

Recently, after a grueling return flight from South Korea, we flew into the delightfully bankrupt city of Detroit, Michigan.  The experience was a lot like looking across the DMZ into North Korea—no one seemed very happy with the situation and everyone is pretty sure it’s the other guy’s fault.

But we were home. Almost.

All we had to do was clear customs, get through immigration, retrieve our already checked luggage, go back through security, take our shoes back off, get fondled by an Amazonian woman declaring that I was wearing a belt because “the machine SAID so,” Note: I was not wearing a belt, redress, repack, find the shuttle bus, fling ourselves onto the bus, race the final ten gates to THE proper gate which was changed from the previous faux gate, locate our ticket information, and finally collapse into yet another airplane seat designed for pudding people.

Having fun yet?  Yeah, me neither, especially when my husband lost his mind at one point in the ordeal, stood in the middle of the airport, observed two customs agents stamping forms in slow motion, and yelled, “This is a F-----g mess.”

“Boy, we’re traveling now,” I said.

Calmly I took his arm and hissed, “Be quiet, you crazy.  Airport jail is real. Believe me.”

Pulling up my shirt, I demonstrated the stretchy nature of my 110% stretchy band on my stretch pants. “Does this look like a belt to you? What? No?”

He pretended to understand me by ignoring me and grinding his teeth.

“Well, like I told the Amazonian TSA chick, ‘If that machine is telling you that I have a belt on then it’s defective and you should contact the manufacturer, because it’s broken.”

Several airports officials that could have been working but weren’t working watched us with jaundiced eye.

We shuffled into line tried clicking our heels together three times and saying, “There’s no place like home.”

Because, there is no place like home, and that’s what I’ve learned from traveling.

Linda (Elastic Band) Zern

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