Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Now Boarding

It is more convenient to take a trip to a convention center to speak to 300 people than it is to cram them all in my living room. Therefore I spend a goodly share of time in airports. Although there are many kind and respectable people employed within, I often find myself irritated with the process of getting from where I am to where I wish to be, specifically the lines, security, and all-too-common delays.

This frustration - coupled with the need to arrive for my flight before even the sun is awake - causes me to not sleep well the night prior to my travels. Because I am paranoid about being late, I plan to rise at 4AM, which will provide enough time to clear security, check in, and stagger over to the local barrista so he can jump-start my heart with excessive doses of caffeine. To make sure I actually do rise at such an inhumane hour, I set an alarm clock, cell phone, and PDA. (Should all three blare at the same instant, I would probably suffer a heart attack from the unexpected cacophony and miss my flight anyway.)

Reality is alarms are unnecessary because I toss and turn through the night, afraid to oversleep. The internal insomniac conversation is akin to this:

2:00 AM: "I'm going to be so exhausted tomorrow. C'mon Scott, relax! Fall asleep NOW!"

2:30 AM: "OK, if I pass out this second, I can still get 90 minutes; I can get by on that."

3:00 AM: "I'll sleep on the plane and take a ten minute nap between presentations. Cats get by on short naps, why can't I?"

3:15 AM: "Sleep is over-rated. Maybe I should just get up. I'll drink lots of coffee."

3:30 AM: "Oh, forget it! What's the use? I might as well get moving."

With that thought, I drop my feet over edge of the bed and drag my exhausted body into the shower, hoping to revitalize myself enough to get to the airport before collapsing in the arms of Hypnos, the God of Sleep.

As I recently lie restlessly in the darkness, I thought, "At which point do I finally decide to face the inevitable, get up, and get moving?" I know how this is going to turn out; I might as well accept it. What causes me to finally cross that line? When do I shift from inactivity to realization to action? I squander so much time forcing myself into stagnation, knowing all the while the outcome is predestined. Denial and delay are not successful strategies.

This routine, I decided, is a metaphor for much of life. As frustration mounts and the inevitability of what needs to be done pushes ever closer, we find unlimited rationales to avoid doing what we'll eventually do anyway. "There's always later." "Problem, what problem?" "Ignore it and it will go away."

The alarm is blaring; the destination awaits; all seats are boarding. Check your baggage, it's time to go.


Spider63 said...

I have never liked airports, and I cannot imagine how it would be to constantly have to use them, especially now with all the extra BS.

Scott "Q" Marcus said...

Hi Spider63,

It's one of those "things" I have to put up with to do what I love. However, the airline industry is most definitely "broken."

Thanks for reading.