The phrase, “Terminal Time” has a dire sound, but as the photo below should make clear, this post is not about terminal illness. It’s about terminal, as in airports; not the end of life, but the end of patience.
Neon passageway, O’Hare Airport, 2013 by Nicola. CC By 2.0
The subject comes from the WordPress Daily Prompt for June 10, You’re at the airport, your flight is delayed for more than six hours, and none of your electronic devices are working. How do you pass the time?
Like millions of others, I’ve been there on several occasions. I think I was still in my teens the first time I got snowed in at O’Hare. Since Chicago’s airport has been the scene of my most dramatic delays, let’s imagine what we can do there to pass the time in an unwired kind of way.
1) Buy a paperback. This almost goes without saying, but since most airport bookstores don’t carry Moby Dick, here is a chance to indulge our guilty pleasures, whatever they may be. No one blames you for reading trash when you’re stuck at O’Hare.
2) Walk or ride the escalator through the neon passageways. If you’re with a companion, one of you can say, “Whoa, dude!” and the other can reply, “Psycedelic!”
3) Eat something. O’Hare has a huge variety, from cinnabuns, to Big Macs, to build-your-own-salads. Go to a bar if it suits you, but before you dip into the beer nuts, remember the opening scene of Contagion, with Gwenneth Paltrow doing just that.
4) Work a puzzle. Mary and I spent a happy hour doing that on the ground in Philadelphia last summer. She is crossword fan, with much experience and several dictionaries. I know lots of nerd expressions and assorted trivia, so we compliment each other.
5) People watch #1: Spot an interesting character and work out the plot of your next (or first) novel.
6) People watch #2: Figure which of your fellow travelers are aliens, as in Men In Black extra-terrestrials. Like the woman I saw with a dog in a pink tutu. This is true! She was talking to the dog, who looked absolutely miserable, while everyone tried to look away. I’m sure the dog came from a more intelligent planet than its owner.
7) Walk around. What a concept! You’ll feel better, and if you decide to be brisk, you can even get in some aerobics to work off those pizza slices.
8) Practice meditation. It’s a challenge to stay focused when you’re tired, annoyed and distracted, but that makes it interesting for brief periods of time.
9) Buy a notebook and write your next blog post longhand. Soon enough you’ll get your smartphone recharged.
10) If you’re gregarious, strike up a conversation. I’ve mentioned a few opening line suggestions like, “Snow sucks, huh?” Or, “Psychedelic!” Or, “That poor dog. I hate tutus!”
You get the idea, and I’m sure you can add many more of your own. Maybe this post will help someone during the summer travel season. Now all I have to do is hope the lords of karma are kind, and I won’t have to eat my own cooking anytime soon!