Back in August, my husband and I missed a flight from LAX to SLC, due to no fault of our own. The fault laid squarely on the airport and it’s Soviet-era security lines. Just last week, L.A. Business Journal reported that LAX is the second-most stressful airport in the country. The emotional meltdown I experienced after the Delta Airlines gate attendants refused to let us on the flight would be a perfect illustration of the truth behind this report.
I am headed to the airport tonight, to catch the red-eye to Boston. I will be taking the 6:01pm metro red line to the Union Station Flyaway shuttle. When I touch ground in Boston just before 6:00am eastern time, I will have been traveling for nine hours. My in-laws will pick me up, and when we arrive in New Hampshire, my travel time will have expanded to eleven hours.
I am anxious about the flight, anxious about how uncomfortable and tired I will be early tomorrow morning. Each year, I wonder why – why do we put ourselves through such stress? Wouldn’t it be nice to stay local, relax, keep our clothes in our closet, the luggage in storage, and cook our own turkey dinner? Well, the answer is family. We moved to Los Angeles for career pursuits. Our family does not live here. We so often feel isolated from the comfort and security that comes with being close to family. Throwing a party? Need some extra chairs or tables? Call your dad, he might have some you can borrow. Cooking a large casserole, need a bigger pan? Call your mom, you can borrow hers. Husband out of town? Tire blown on the freeway? Call your sister, she’ll pick you up. This is a network of security, of love, of I’ll do anything for you. Friends can help, but their support will never match the strength of that which comes from family.
We are and always will be the travelers, coming from the city where no one else lives, entering into the world of our parents, our siblings. We travel to bridge the distance. Yet, with each return to our current city, it seems that the distance grows, inches with each journey. L.A. now seems further away than it did in the beginning.