Bole International (Addis Ababa) > Charles De Gaulle

Bole International (Addis Ababa) > Charles De Gaulle

I’m trying to stay awake at Charles De Gaulle in Paris. More accurately I am trying not to embarrass myself. I am doing the bastardized version of sleep that comes during long layovers after long flights.

My chin is in my palm, elbow perched on the armrest. I keep dropping off to sleep for seconds at a time, waking as my head slips out of my palm and towards the backpack on my lap.

Anytime I have a long layover after a long flight I feel like a prisoner being tortured by the CIA. I can’t sleep on flights, so after 8 sleepless hours in the sky, I am sent through a maze of hallways, gates, security points, and escalators. What’s more, the same coffee shop and magazine-stand/gift-shop keep appearing, so I am led to believe I am hallucinating.

Today, the worst part of this ordeal is that when I finally reach my gate, I still have more than four hours to wait. I groan.

My sister can’t believe this attitude, everything involving air travel is a dream come true for her. But then again, she has two kids, so four quiet hours of scrolling Facebook or reading magazines might as well come with 72 virgins.

I have inherited the pathological and intense dislike of waiting displayed by the men in my family. We have made impatience into a warlike art form, and become instantly stressed, uncomfortable, and aggravated.

But I have worked on this shortcoming in recent years. I have tried simply to be, rather than expect or anticipate. So that’s not what really bothers me. What really gets to me is waiting to do something I can’t stand.

FlyingOK, I used to have a much worse relationship with flying. At this point, being in the air is not a problem, neither is a little turbulence. Plus, I usually get some pretzels and a Sprite.

But I don’t like taking off.

If I fly another 750 times I will never stop being stupefied as the 1,260,000 pound chunk of metal I am sitting in rumbles down the tarmac and then lifts into the air. Never. And until it actually does lift into the air, I do not believe it is going to happen. Additionally, I am…uncomfortable.

So the fact that I have to wait four hours in order to something I don’t like really pisses me off. Waiting for something good is pleasant, delaying gratification. A lot of people love the lead up to Christmas, waiting for dinner when you’re starving, or a ten minute wait for a massage.

But waiting for something that is unpleasant? Crap. It’s as though I am forced to get on a waiting list to have my colon invaded with a red-hot poker.

Once the seed of discontent and irritation is planted, I begin stewing. This leads to thinking of the other times I have been forced to wait for something I didn’t want to do in the first place. Because flying isn’t the only time this happens.

In the last three months I have been made to wait on poetry readings, doctor’s appointments, and blind dates I would have rather skipped. Perhaps there should be a clause in all of these actions that awards those unwilling waiters a reciprocal amount of time of their lives.

The lounge is packed and I hate everyone in it. French people yelling at other French people is sort of fun, but otherwise, I’d rather be anywhere. Even New Jersey. As the air grows heavier with sweat and German tourists, I get more aggravated thinking about those who make us wait for unpleasant things. The true demons are those who demand our time and then waste it by making us wait.

By the time I am good and apoplectic, our plane pulls into the port and the departure lounge bursts into a flurry of activity. I relax mildly. There is nothing better than knowing your wait will soon be over. A woman on the ground crew takes a call and picks up her intercom.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately, due to mechanical issues there will be a short delay…’


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