I am fortunate enough to be able to travel often for business and pleasure. Often – and these are some of the trips I like the best – I am accompanied by Giulian (my most favorite partner in crime.) Although I will admit (and I think he would too) that there have been trips that have not gone precisely according to plan (these would include those we have spent not talking to each other, for either all or part of said trip), most of our journeys have included equal measures of hilarity and adventure.
Because security at airports is always a little bit unpredictable, we generally get to the terminal at least 2.5 hours ahead of time. Eye-rolling aside, Giulian will agree that this makes sense, as it gives us ample time to look around at our fellow travellers and make up stories about them (one of our favorite past-times). I always think of that George Clooney film when we go through security: while we take our shoes off and put the computers in their own little plastic thingies, there is always one hapless travel virgin who literally needs to be walked through the process from start to finish. No matter, because we’ve left extra time, we (mostly) patiently wait our turn and go through the scanners, the body pat-downs, the TSA random checks and the rest of it, before taking our place in the terminal to wait for our flight.
Of course, you can never quite choose who will sit next to you. I’ve noticed that no matter where I sit, the person who is coughing up hairballs is most likely to be next to me. While I accuse my brother Greg of being a germophobe, I will admit that airports and airplanes have made me more sick more often than most other places. The last time I took a flight the lady next to me wore a surgical mask for the duration of the flight. As she put it on she assured me she wasn’t sick, but didn’t want to get sick either – the implication being that her view of airborne airplane germs matched mine. Made me kind of wish I had brought my own mask. Next time.
For now I will just sit back and enjoy the view and public service announcements (like these https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmR0sj15aHc, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPfya60FYo4, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3eNFdwn07g) and feel fortunate that the person sitting next to me is Giulian. We share genetically similar germs, and we tend to laugh at the same jokes. Like I said, he’s one of my favorite travel companions and now that he is away at school, our opportunities to travel together have become a little more precious, and a lot less frequent. So, whether we are going South to visit my snowbird parents over the holidays, or to Italy to visit my aging (but indefatigable) mother-in-law, I’ll weather the turbulence, the germs and the novice travellers and sit back to enjoy the ride. But next time I’ll bring my own surgical mask.