Trabbeling

trabbeling

"Do not for a minute envy my mobility."

The Muse and I find ourselves Trabbeling again. Merriam-Webster defines Trabbeling as a common variant of the more common traveling, and while a variant, the term seems to better impart what I experience. The Muse Trabbels all the time these days, so her mileage varies considerably from mine. I once lived on airlines, weighted down by so many frequent flier miles that they had to seat me way up front so as to counterbalance most of the rest of the load. Then, I was a fearless flier, unruffled by turbulence normal or exceptional. Now, I've matured into more or less a complete ninny.

I presume that an airline reservation will probably fly me into the valley of the shadow of death, so I consider flying anywhere a reminder of my inescapable fallibility.
I figure I won't make it back to solid earth in one piece, yet I still consent to board, even comporting myself with a certain savior faire. I take my seat just as if I was not panicking inside and I almost never completely pass out on either take off or through the unlikely approach, not even on landing. I cannot muster the notion that air travel qualifies as romantic or even adventurous. It's tedious, often boring, sandwiched between moments of abject terror.

This morning, we agreed to a scheduled two and a half hour flight. Boarding on time meant that I popped out of bed just before two this morning, having perhaps captured an odd half hour or two of fretting sleep. We were out of the house right on time, a quarter to four, and driving down to the light rail station for the predicted 4:13am departure. The light rail train left right on time, dropping us off at the centrally-located Union Station about forty-five minutes later, leaving us a leisurely four minutes to scoot the two or three blocks of underground passage to emerge just as the airport-bound train was starting to close its doors. We were the next to last people to board. Another forty-five minutes brought us to the airport train station from which we boarded two different elevators to access the ticket counter, where we checked our one bag then rode an escalator one floor down to enter the security maze.

We felt fortunate in that the maze seemed very lightly populated. With forty-five minutes to make our departure gate, we might have gotten a little smuggy. The gods positioned me behind four or five prospective passengers who had not yet cut their eye teeth on the latest protocols, fumbling through undressing, with one even requiring supplementary instructions to just take off his belt and hold it over his head as he passed through the resonance imaging machine. I wasted another five minutes dressing myself on the other side. The Muse had earlier suggested the need for a rest stop, and we felt ahead enough of the game for her to head off to take care of that business before boarding. I was waiting for her to return when I heard our names called over the PA. We were the next to the last passengers to board.

Three hours and fifteen minutes after we left The Villa, our flight became airborne. A half hour of gentle shaking and the pilot announced that we were free to roam around the cabin. We arrived precisely on time at SeaTac, a notorious food desert situated in one of the country's preeminent foodie towns, six hours and forty five minutes after leaving the house; not a terrible ratio for a two and a half hour flight. I settled for a nine buck bowl-let of oatmeal, my second breakfast of the day. The ever-more adventurous Muse seemed to have received a plate of shingle featuring authentic, probably artisanal, shit atop a clearly microwaved shingle. We were facing a three hour layover with no place to actually lay down, but we were closer to our destination, though we'd overflown that place by a couple of hundred miles on the way out because, you know, spoke and hub.

Ahhh, the romance of travel! We're recharging and piggy-backing into the airport's free wi-fi, a rarity in these libertarian times where public airports seem to find no shame in charging the equivalent of a few hundred bucks per month for an hour of standard access. We could have each scored multiple blackout Trabbeling Bingo Card wins just observing our fellow Trabbelers. I sat across the aisle from the always-present two vodka for breakfast passenger and, lucky me, also directly behind the recline her seat back as far it can possible go lady. It's an archetypal parade, lead by the young mother who apparently packed her entire nursery into a stroller and three rolling carry-ons. I was behind her in the insecurity line.

Overall, I'd really rather stay home. I'll know I've achieved success when I no longer feel the need to Trabbel anywhere. No reservations. No existential dread. No impossible hero's journey just to get to the airport. No shaken rather than stirred departure or approach. No begrudging acceptance that I've probably signed my own death warrant. No relieved salvation upon landing. No search for the ground transportation. I'll probably post pictures to assuage my guilt over ever leaving home. Do not for a minute envy my mobility. It's certainly not what it's usually cracked up to be.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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