a lunchless day

Yesterday’s transcontinental aeronautic trip was the most painless and least foodful of my memory. The layovers were nearly nonexistent and so was the food.

Since I flew out of the airport at home, located a mere and convenient 20 minutes from our house, on an incredibly reasonable 9:30 flight, I did not have to wake up at some ridiculous hour. It was Claire in jeans and rainbows and all the businessmen in suits and polished shoes on the short jump to Charlotte.

My flight to Phoenix, scheduled to depart a bit less than an hour after I arrived in Charlotte, had already begun to board by the time I arrived at the gate. Exercising an incredible lack of foresight, I neglected to inquire about the length of the Phoenix flight, simply assuming that it would last no longer than two or three hours. Armed with my naive assumption and daunted by the ten-plus person lines at all of the respectable lunch options in the area, I purchased only a package of apple slices with caramel dip at a significantly less busy bookstore, confident I could acquire some lunch in Phoenix. Neglecting to purchase an actual lunch was a mistake of gastronomical proportions.

On the plane I found myself seated next to a talkative older gentlemen, who, mercifully, directed most of his comments the unfortunate man to his left during most of the flight. He did, however, confer with me in an attempt to calculate the flying time to Phoenix. He guessed three and a half hours. It was four and a half. I did managed to survive by nursing my two clementines from home, my apple slices, and an entire can of cranberry juice, all while distracting myself by watching Mission Impossible III on my computer. Perhaps that does not sound too bad, the whole not eating a proper lunch part. But, let me remind you, in case you have forgotten, or inform you, if you do not know, that I like to eat. And I like to have my three normal, square meals every day. I was annoyed by my foolishness. Really, though, it was not that bad. I would have preferred a sandwich, but snacking my way across the country was quite tolerable.

As we began our 30-minute descent into Phoenix, I decided to check my boarding pass for my flight to Sacramento for the gate number and departure time. I am unsure why I had not done that earlier. To my shock I discovered that the flight would leave at 2:34. The plane in which I was seated was not supposed to land until 2:15. Happily, though, the gate of my next flight was only 15 or so gates down the terminal, as opposed to being in another terminal entirely. Unhappily, I was stuck sitting on the 27th row of the plane. By the time it was my to hurry down the aisle between the seats, it was 2:29. I had resigned myself to missing my flight to Sacramento, but decided to run for it anyways, in case the plan was late leaving. I wove in and out of the crowds until they thinned out into an enormous expanse of departure gate-less carpet that stretched eternally on into the distance. The terminal was divided in two! I opted out of the moving walkways and ran down the middle of the terminal, toes scrunched to keep my flipflops from being left behind, backpack flopping here and there, following in the footsteps of some other tardy passenger running up ahead. I must have been quite a source of amusement for the bored people inching their way down the A terminal on the people movers. After running down the hall and down to the end of another, I arrived breathless at my gate to find people standing around, preparing to form lines to board. They were boarding late! Praise God! I snagged one of those yogurt-granola-fruit parfaits found at every airport in the universe from a nearby Starbucks, which, during the afternoon lull, was devoid of a the usual crowds that spontaneously appear at the faintest whiff of the overpriced coffee, before composedly boarding my plane to Sacramento.

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