I’ve been flying for way too many years. I remember the days when friends could be at the gate to see you off. I remember when airplane food was actually good. And I remember when flying was expensive.
Yes, things change. We all get used to the change until it feels normal, which is why I freaked out this morning. I got to the airport a bit early for my flight, mostly because I needed a change of scenery after being trapped in the same hotel for three days by bitterly cold winds. On my way to the security line, it was eerily quiet at 11am. In fact, there was no one in line and no passenger at the X-ray machine. Self doubt creeps in – Am I at the right place? Did I miss news of a crisis? Is the airport closed?
I proceeded on and for the first time since security lines existed, I was alone. I talked freely with the TSA folks. Relaxed while taking off my shoes and belt. Felt the weight of the absence of hurry. No one behind me to worry about, no one ahead of me to complain about. And I didn’t like it because it was change. I also knew that I would likely never have this experience again so it will never be normal, just an aberration. So I couldn’t enjoy it at all. I wanted what I expected. Crowds, lines, waiting, stress. I almost feel cheated.
I think that this psychology of habits is fascinating as I get older and realize that much of my contentedness is based on habits, normality, and routine. I want to fight that, to look for new things, to get out of a rut, to stretch myself. It’s just strange when I can’t enjoy an aberration that is good.