Flights and Time Travels
9:30pm – The two hour drive to the airport never seemed shorter. I was actually doing this.
11:45pm – Said goodbye to my family. There were tears. Got past the first round of security and thought of running back outside, like they do in movies. But I haven’t watched a single movie that shows you what the drive home is like — a very long silence followed by an unending tirade of “we took so long to bubble wrap all that, Shreya.” Decided to proceed to flight.
11:50pm – Thought I’d milk the sadness and fear for what it’s worth. Used the puffy eyes and sad face and tried to get a free upgrade to first class. Guy behind the counter was working his fifteenth late shift in a row and didn’t care.
11:55pm – Found myself face-to-face with more forms. HAVEN’T YOU RUN OUT OF QUESTIONS TO ASK ME?
12:10am – Turns out it’s nice to have something to do while waiting in a line that will never end.
12:45am – Walked to security check. Momentary relief as I put my bag, coat, and shoes in a box and walked hands-free past the scanner.
12:50am – Doubly irritated as I now had to gather my coat and shoes while trying to drag this monstrosity of a backpack. All while barefoot and trying to avoid the tongue-clickers behind me.
1:20am – Sat on a cold, hard metal bench. Pulled out my journal – henceforth referred to as ‘biography’ – and started recording this journey.
Since vodka comes from potatoes, why don’t we call an anti-underage drinking campaign “tater tots before tater shots”?
Also, do angels stretch out their halos and use them as hula hoops?
3:00am – Biography project never took off. Stood in line to board the flight. Saw a couple with a baby ahead of me. Kid was drooling and looked like a screamer. Mentally prepared myself for the next eight hours.
6:00am – Woke up from a nap. Turns out I was right about the screamer. Couldn’t find my earphones. Settled for the itchy in-flight headphones and watched a movie.
7:30am – The screamer was powering on but thanks to my headphones he looked like he was on mute.
8:00am – The screamer has a big sister. She’s three years old and finds overhead lights fascinating. She won’t stop turning them on and off. And on again. And off again. She’s smiling like she’s discovered the most fascinating thing ever. Why are toddlers so satisfied with mediocrity? They clap if they go potty. They laugh if they hit the button in an elevator. I’m not impressed.
8:45am – Landed in Germany, feeling sad and exhilarated at the same time. Sad because I officially couldn’t turn around and go back home, exhilarated because I officially couldn’t turn around and go back home.
1:30pm – Lost five hours in five minutes. Thank you, time zones.
1:35pm – Found a phone and called mummy. It was the first time she was happy to take a 3 am call from me.
1:40pm – Found a cafe, ordered some coffee. It smelled great.
(Side note: It’s so hard to be South Indian – I’ve grown up drinking the best coffee in the world. This coffee had no sugar, no milk, and no love. To top it off, it was roughly the same temperature as the inside of the earth, probably to scald off the memory of real coffee from my tastebuds.)
1:46pm – Ordered a bagel with cream cheese. Got a bagel with cream cheese and salmon instead. Had to explain I’m a vegetarian. Waiter then brought me a bagel with cream cheese and leaves. And here I thought passive-aggression was more of an internet concept.
11:00pm – Landed in Washington. Cried a little – my flying journey was not yet complete.
9:00pm – Felt like the cast of The Time Traveler’s Wife.
10:20pm – Waited for final flight to Boston.
10:30pm – My senses were bombarded with a million bright signs – a Wendy’s, a Starbucks, a Burger King, and a newspaper stand with magazines that screamed “Jennifer Aniston’s Marriage – The SHOCKING Truth!” I wanted to write a clever line about non-digital clickbait in my biography but there was no time. My flight to Boston was in an hour and I needed to know the SHOCKING truth.
11:15pm – Stood in line to board the flight. No babies this time, but there was a boy my age who started chatting with me. Apparently my red eyes and sulky stare screamed “friendly gal!” He asked me where I was going to study and complimented me on my English. I said thank you; at this point I’d been in three time zones and frankly deserved a compliment for constructing a sentence that wasn’t incoherent sobbing.