Sunday, March 16, 2008


People do many things when they're waiting in airports. Some do crossword puzzles or sudoku. Some read books. Some (like me) knit toe-up jaywalker socks (Ravelry link).

And then there are those who do nothing at all.

I cannot figure these people out. Three of them sat in the little DFW chair pod with me for one solid hour while we were waiting for our flight to Little Rock. Two of them occasionally checked their cell phone messages, at least. But one of them literally did nothing. He sat with his boarding pass in his shirt pocket and stared into space. Sometimes he looked around. Sometimes he checked his watch. For sixty long minutes -- nothing. And my cell-phone-bearing seatmates, likewise, crossed their arms and waited without anything to pass their time.

There are plenty of bookstores and newsstands in the airport, mind. However, I understand that getting lost in a book and a bag of trail mix can cause dire consequences. In my three hours at the airport today, I saw a woman sit a couple of seats from me reading and eating throughout all the many, many, many boarding calls for her flight to Milwaukee originating twenty feet away. Then ten minutes after the plane pushed back, she came up to the desk needing to be rebooked because she missed her flight.

Maybe those people sitting in my pod had the right idea. There's no reason to do anything while you wait, and every reason not to. I'm lucky I'm not still sitting in the airport wondering why my flight never got announced.


Adam Villani said...

It is generally a good idea to have a book with you for times like that. But maybe these folks have been busy all day and just want a chance to relax.

Jenn said...

I have a coworker who sits in our conference room during her lunch break and...stares. Out the window. For an hour. She doesn't read, she doesn't listen to music, or occupy herself in any visible way. I really want to know what's going in her mind. Is it blank? Is she thinking about things? It's just so different than my own approach to downtime, that I'm puzzled by her.

doafy said...

Once, on a four hour flight, I forgot to bring a book or a walkman. I did the airline mag crossword in an hour, looked through the skymall catalog, and finally looked at the dude who was in similar straights with a desperate face and said, "Do you want to play cards?" He jumped at the chance, and we spent two hours trying to remember the rules to gin rummy.

I can't handle doing nothing. I'd fall asleep, and then really miss my flight.