Saturday, May 3, 2014

Traveling Today through JFK

I'm hearing the soft rhythm of Sade playing in the background while drinking large gulps of American style coffee and sitting at a clean table on a cushioned chair using free wifi and an iPad set up for public use. Where am I? A coffee house?

No! I'm at the JFK airport in New York.

What happened to travel in the last few years? The last time I was in this airport on a family trip, the plane was delayed, we had lost our connection, and it was dreadfully uncomfortable. We waited for hours cold, hungry, tired and trying to sleep on the floor with fifty other waylaid travelers caught in route like flies in this crafty spider web of concourses, terminals and shuttles. Victims at the mercy of impatient airline officials and over zealous security agents, e.g.

 "Where are you going and to what purpose?" 
"Home"  
 "What are you transporting in that red jar? 
"It's homemade cherry preserves?!" (There they go into the trash!)

I felt like running to the nearest exit, "I'm unsat! I'm unsat!" For those of you who don't know, that's military jargon for "unsatisfactory" but it's equivalent now would be "that's a fail." Only the panic feeling of "I'm unsat" is more to the point. I felt guilty and afraid that I would get caught. But what had I done? The general atmosphere after 9/11 was intense, we were all guilty until proven innocent. I stayed  away for a good while. I stopped traveling north. 

Today, I'm mystified by the contrast of my memory with the current reality. Is this the same nightmare airport where more than once,  I've been caught midstream on my way to somewhere.
I'm not complaining about the comfortable wait, I'm just taking it all in and feeling more and more delighted by the moment! Times have changed while I've been sipping a cool drink by the ocean on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico -  oh yes, they keep changing by the moment! I'm pleasantly surprised that this change is good; in fact, it's brilliant!

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