So, I’m sitting in the airport. I’m taking some time to think about the details. The milieu. The thousand cuts of modern life which I do my damnedest to ignore. Times. Gate. Terminals. Flight numbers. And so on.
To be fair, technology eliminates about 90% of the need to pay attention to details. For example–what time is it? Who cares! If there’s something I need to be doing soon, my phone will beep and remind me. What’s so-and-so’s phone number? Who cares! My phone knows. So I don’t have to. What airline am I flying? Who knows. I’ll read the confirmation email en route to the airport. Where’s that piece of paper I need to keep track of so they let me on the airplane? Oh, yeah–my boarding ticket is on my phone now.
But, as great as technology is, it’s still not a free ticket to functional somnambulism.
For example, flying home after Brandon’s wedding? When’s my flight? Um … sometime in the afternoon. 2:00 pm, I think. I’d already missed my flight by the time I bothered to check this. Turns out 2:00 pm was my ARRIVAL time. Details, right?
Or, for example, this morning. What airline am I flying? I pull out my phone and check, one hand on the wheel, driving 70. Delta. Got it. Which terminal? Signs. U.S. Airways … terminal 2. Park. Wait. Forever for a bus in economy parking. Security’s backed up in Terminal 2. Security clear (still have yet to get rapiscanned), and I’m off to gate 23. Except–wait, what? 20 minutes till my flight departs. There’s only 19 gates in this terminal. Uh oh. Where’s a monitor? Where’s U.S. Airways? Wait, what airline am I flying? Phone. Delta. DELTA. Which terminal is Delta in? Phone. Internet. Oh. Terminal 3. Shit.
So, I need to start doing one of two things: paying attention to my flight information (you know, like writing it down somewhere and thinking about it)–or showing up more than 50 minutes before my flight’s scheduled departure (you know, a little margin for error).
(In case you were waiting in active suspense–John McCain did not respond to my letter.)