Flight AA2632 to DFW. And Dreamin’ of Just One Time.
5:15 A.M. Monday Morning.
Terminal B LaGuardia Airport. Not America’s finest example of its greatness or its Might. Dark. Dingy. Beyond Stale. Earning its status as the Worst Airport in the Country. Dead last in surveys. Sad, really.
Lines are backing up at Security, including TSA pre-check.
One hour and 5 minutes to boarding: Flight AA2632 to DFW.
I clear security.
And I walk.
- AA2126. Boston. 6:00 a.m. Sit in the stands at a Red Sox game.
- AA4752. Washington. 6:00 a.m. Sit on the steps at Lincoln Memorial.
- AA4527. Atlanta. 6:05 a.m. Lounge in the Georgia Aquarium.
What if. Just what if. Just one time. You call it in sick. A Sick Day. What’s that? You walk back out of the terminal, stroll up to the American Airlines ticket counter, pull out your credit card, pay full price for a ticket and…take off…to…anywhere else. Like take a day trip. By yourself. To anywhere else. Turn off your cellphone(s). And disappear, for one day. Off Grid. Just one time.
- AA3803. Raleigh Durham. 6:29 a.m. Sit in a diner and read Murakami’s new book, uninterrupted.
- AA3549. Portland, Maine. 6:29 a.m. Sit on a bench and watch the leaves turn.
- AA349. Chicago. 6:29 a.m. Walk Michigan Avenue.
- AA2510. Miami. 6:50 a.m. I pause here. South Beach. Beach chair. Cool drink delivered. Long Nap.
I approach my gate.
- AA2632. Dallas. 6:59 a.m.
And here it comes.
To Do’s. Commitments. Responsibilities.
I walk up to the Gate attendant. “Good morning Mr. Kanigan. You are seated in an Exit row. Are you willing and able to assist in an Emergency?”
Exit. Now. Do it. This is your last chance.
I smile. “Yes. Yes I am.”
I walk down the jet bridge. And I note that the heaviness lifts. Peace.
I get comfortable in my seat, 24E Exit.
You Need This. Murakami’s ’emotional morphine.’
You just couldn’t have it any other way.