I lost my phone. What the hell was I going to do? Stuck at Chicago airport, my flight had been delayed for the 3rd time. They might as well cancel it. Oh wait, they did!
So now, I was the airport it was 9 pm (I should have been in NYC and drunk by now), I had no phone to tell anyone I wasn’t, I had a dead laptop, a bag of popcorn, a bottle of water and a 6-hour long reimbursement line ahead of me. Great. I stood there, in a line that just refused to budge, looked around, hated the people who had cellphones to stare into. Looked around some more. Started over hearing conversations.
An hour later I couldn’t take it anymore! I needed my cellphone or any, ANY conversation. I started making eye contact with strangers, shrugging and smiling at the people in my line (we were all in this shit together, all 600 of us), even laughing at the crazy old biker dude screaming at anyone who even looked at him. Then I got bolder, I started making conversation with these people. The long hair guy in front of me, the woman with 4 kids behind me, everyone!
And sure, the 6-hour wait still sucked, but it probably sucked a little less.
Finally I reached the counter. And guess what, the spirit airline ground staff was as annoyed as I was. But that turned out to be a good thing. She was mad enough to book me a 400$ early morning (non spirit airline) ticket, for free!
I walked away happy, tired and again itching for digital or artificial mental stimulation. I found a comfortable spot, on the floor, outside the restroom and (there is a god) next to an unused plug point. YES, No more of this ridiculous tech sabbatical! As soon as my laptop came on, I put on headphones and a movie. I was so sure that would make me feel good. But it didn’t.
Something, very weirdly had changed in the last 6 hours. I had realized I’m here, stuck in this airport with a bunch of other people I might never get a chance to see or speak to ever again. So I took out the headphones, put aside the laptop, people watched, clicked pictures (not selfies) and made some more totally useless conversation.
But it felt right.