And So it Continues

August 20th, 2010

Location: Narita, Japan. Airport. Gate D23.
Local time: 18:16
My Time: 2:16

All I can say is thank the Lord for sleeping pills, Steve Jobs, and small miracles. There is no level of importance in that order, because picking one over the other would be impossible. But I’ll start with the last. By some act of God, I managed to have the only empty seat on the entire plane next to me. Technically, I wasn’t even sitting in my seat. I switched with a middle-aged Japanese man so that he could sit next to his friend. How does that saying go? No act of kindness . . . I don’t need to give myself a pat on the back for my good deed because the gods of travel handed me my reward in the shape of bountiful leg room. Well, as much leg room as an added seat can really offer. Space wise, it’s not much in the cubic feet department, but I’m pretty sure it saved my life. Or, well, my knees.

Still, an 11-hour international flight is just not bearable without a little help from a little blue capsule of sleeping goodness and that miraculous invention we call the ipod. I always pack books in my carry-on, but considering I generally am up all night the night before a trip, if I attempt to read I usually find myself reading page 2 over and over again. And so, after hours sprawled across two seats, 6 chapters of an audiobook, 4 in-flight movies, 2 meals, and 4 beverages later, I arrived in Japan.

I can’t understand a single sign or what the lady on the speaker is saying, but there is still a universal comfort in airports. World-wide, you basically know what to expect. Whoever designed those standard airport chairs that I’ve seen change only in variation of color was a genius. That man is set for life. I got here early enough to snag two of those said chairs on the end of a row providing a buffer between me and any potential encroacher of my personal space. What can I say? I’m American and I know that I’m about to lose even the pretense of a ‘bubble’ and so I’m hoarding the extra room while I can. Old people needing a seat be damned. It’s a dog-eat-dog world.

Guess my good will regarding seats was used up on the plane. Or maybe in the course of the last 12 hours with two seats all to myself, I’ve grown accustomed to the luxury and simply can’t give it up. All I know is, I really have to use the bathroom but my connecting flight doesn’t depart for another hour. I can’t get up and find the bathroom because then I’d have to take my stuff (which is an ordeal in itself) and thus lose my coveted seats. Oh, the dilemma.

In case you’re wondering, the irony of my “seat situations” is not lost on me. If you’re lost, you might want to read up on karma.

Off to China I go. Fingers crossed, someone will be at the airport waiting for me .

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