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25 November 2007

Too Much of a Good Thing?

The more I _____, the more I don't like to ________.

What comes to mind? I'm going out on a limb here, but I bet it's not eat, have sex or make money. How about travel?

I used to travel for work a fair amount and must say I did a pretty good job at it. I had a boss and self appointed travel mentor once that was the epitome of a travel Svengali. He was away from home, often internationally, for over 200 nights per year. He had - or developed - a panic disorder so he learned he had to write the city, date and mission he was on down on the little bedside note pad as soon as he checked into a hotel. That way when he awoke in a stupor and didn't know where he was, he could look at the cheat sheet and find temporary solace. What a life. And that is not all bad by the way; he did and saw some incredible things in those travels, but as expected it comes at a price. He just happened to be willing to pay it.

I don't travel much anymore, for business anyway. Having earned my wings (and points and miles, oh my!), my trips to the airport these days are spent

1) trying to retrain my conditioned response to veer toward the long term parking lot
2) the occasional business trip
3) the occasional boondoggle pleasure trip disguised as a business trip (wink, wink) or
4) to pick up and drop off friends/family

Holidays are always a special treat at the airport (if only sarcasm could be better relayed electronically he says). The major airport that services my area is one of the largest and busiest airports on the planet and believe me when I say it attracts people of every experience level during the holidays. Some fly because the bus was full. Some fly because they can go to or from anywhere in the world via our airport. And some fly because there is a fruitcake convention somewhere and, well, how could one miss that? The experience levels are equally as diverse. My favorites are those eager wayfarers that show up with their worldly belongings in a trash bag and the chip on their shoulder, especially when they are in front of you during the screening process.

When I was a teen with no money, I would take dates to the airport to watch the travelers and we would guess who was coming and who was going. What fun! And there is no greater place and no better time to witness the spectacle of travel rodeo except during the holidays. Most business travelers run for the hills during this time...they gladly relinquish the airways to the rookies during this time. After all, who wants a flight delayed because the guy in 28F won't shut off his Playstation? And the hysterical woman in 14B who screams about dying in flight in between puking up her airport cocktails?

So off we go to pick up Emily from her Thanksgiving trip. As the subordinate parent, I will likely be told to wait outside of security. I will hang my head momentarily, then wish Tonya luck getting through security while I relish the opportunity to indoctrinate young Ethan into his first of many travel rodeos.

If you are riding in this years travel rodeo...giddyup, won't ya?

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