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Solo flight

So many of life’s tasks are made easier if you have someone else to help. While traveling and stuck in the Houston airport, the Continental employee at the gate gave instructions to check back with the gate every 20 minutes. They said the plane would be leaving at 1 PM instead of the 11:25 departure time. It is just enough of a delay to catch my breath. I ran from the jetway where we landed to the gate printed on my boarding pass only to discover that gate 33 is a flight going to New York. Go to gate C19, she said. I trekked back up that concourse and hoofed it to the other end of the terminal. The merging of United and Continental means they have gates ALL OVER the airport. But when they announced the delay in the flight you heard the collective groan. The delay IS enough time to realize I do not have my iPod charger and I have a near dead battery. So much for listening to Shalimar the Clown. It is not enough time to get real food. The Clif bar and café con leche is gone and the gnawing hunger in the pit of my stomach would like attention. As I head back to the area where there are food options, I discover a charging station. I can charge my iPod for $3 in 30 minutes. That’s enough time. But…..I can’t leave the iPod. So, I have a choice. Food or audiobook. They will feed me on the plane (something) or I can manage with another Clif bar or a bag of peanuts. It is not like I will starve. But nothing to read or listen to for four hours is untenable. So, I sit on the cold terrazzo floor beside the $3 iPod charging station and wait. And this is where having a traveling companion would be nice, someone to fetch us food while I guard Shalimar. Also, traveling with a companion means you books your seats as a pair. A single seats means you get moved to the middle seat even though I pre-selected my seats on Expedia, the flight got rearranged. It is hard to sleep sitting straight ip in the middle seat on a plane when you cannot lean into the person beside you. You must maintain a sense of propriety and decorum. There is literally no elbow room if you are trying not to flirt (or appear to be flirting) with the man (or woman) who sandwich you. I suppose I could be lamenting my size and not my solitary status. Oh but to be a petite 110 lb lithe traveler, I would recover my elbow room within the space of my own seat. By the time we landed at SFO, we had been flying in a total white out for 25 minutes. It was not bumpy or rough, just blind. When we deplaned, it was obvious that very few planes had managed to leave SFO. People sat, lay and slept all over the airport concourse. They had cleared security and then been stuck, like cattle in a pen. There was not a bare two feet of wall space to be found. No empty power outlets and no chairs. I did not envy the solo traveler stranded in a terminal, unable to leave luggage or carry-ons for a single moment. It is best to have a traveling companion to guard the bags or guard me while I slept on the floor.

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