Fun finger food
Somewhere in the stratosphere, March 2011
About this photo: Thematic explores "happiness is..." this week. You can, too, by clicking here.Airline travel has devolved significantly from its early days, when taking to the skies was seen as a sumptuously glamorous act largely reserved for those who could afford it. Kids aspired to be pilots, parents wore suits, ties and dresses, and a trip on a plane was special, an event in and of itself.
Today? Not so much. Post-9/11, post-shoe-bomber, post-post-Osama Bin Laden security protocols have turned a trip through the airport into something that would make a dairy cow feel right at home. We no longer travel as much as we run an endless gauntlet of security checkpoints, surly airline employees and automaton-like flyers who, just like you, simply want to arrive more or less on time and more or less in one piece.
Depressing as it seems, I don't much subscribe to the notion that we have to be powerless victims of this new aviation world order. We can't do anything about latex glove-wearing security agents feeling up our privates because we dared to forget to remove the toothpaste from the outer pocket of our carry-on bag, but we can still try to find joy along the way.
So as I sat in my window seat on the way home and idly stared at my little baggie of complimentary pretzels, I decided to see whether or not the bag contained enough pieces to make a happy face. As you can see, I came up slightly short, but I still managed to carve out five minutes of relative innocence before I had to start filling out my customs form and otherwise prepare for the next drudge-filled slog through the airport.
I know the lady next to me was staring through barely closed eyelids, pretending she wasn't paying attention when we both knew she was. But if my playing-with-food moment gave her a slightly light-hearted moment in the middle of an otherwise dark experience, it was well worth it.
And, yes, the pretzels tasted better. I'm not sure how.
Your turn: How do you find joy in the midst of places and times that seem to contain none?