2 jobs and a 40 hour work week. 50 hours if you count the commuting. 60 if you count the time waiting between jobs that wasn’t long enough to go anywhere or do anything besides sit and wait. And here I am, 2:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon sitting at Terminal 41 in Washington Reagan National Airport waiting for them to call my boarding class for a flight to LaGuardia Airport where, upon landing, I will have 3 more hours to sit and wait.
I’ll board in Zone 4, the last class, and my bag will most likely be taken from me, gate-checked and, inevitably, lost. I was denied online check-in and therefore do not have a boarding pass for my connecting flight, meaning that mine will be one of the names on the terminal screen waiting for a seat assignment. But for now, I am here and nowhere else.
Oh, to have nowhere else to be but in this seat waiting. Across from me, a young businessman in a pinstripe suit and an orange tie decorate with polo players on horses finishes up work on his BlackBerry. Two others on either side of me, also in pin-stripes, also finishing up work.
I left my pinstripe suit at the office, I have no work to speak of, and somehow airports have remained about the only place on earth without wireless Internet access. So I sit and try to fill up a blank screen with idle words.
Over the intercom, a man urgently pleads for 7 individuals flying to West Palm Beach to reroute through Boston in exchange for a free round-trip voucher. Momentarily, I wish I were flying to West Palm Beach, envying the opportunity to extend my travel time, my time to sit, think, breathe. But perhaps in New York they will call for travelers to Chicago to sit and wait a while longer.
On the TV overhead, the news mongers anxiety, tragedy, fear. A body washed up on the shore of an Illinois river. A couple’s house intruded on, the couple stabbed––though not fatally––when they startled the burglar. A teacher impregnated by her student, age 13.
I focus on the page, on the words that mean nothing because they need not mean anything, only there to fill up space and time as I sit and wait to fly.