It's 4:45 p.m. central time, and I am sitting in an airport in Minneapolis/ St. Paul waiting for my flight to Wausau, Wis.
My trip to Wausau and then on to Ironwood, Mich. is work related and, as such, I am traveling alone - not my preferred method.
I just finished a Quizno's sandwich and have about three hours to kill. No, really, I layovers.
Flying is not my favorite way to travel. Sure, you get to your destination quicker and you spend less time traveling, but I don't like it.
I feel absolutely out of control when I fly. I feel, as I walk onto a plane, that I am saying to the pilot, "Ok boss, my life is in your hands. Please, get me there safely."
My other reason for not liking flying is because of my size. don't get me wrong, I am working on losing weight - working pretty hard, actually. But it doesn't change the look i get when someone realizes they get to sit next to the fat guy.
I do my damnedest, when I fly, to contain my girth. I keep my arms pulled against my chest, my legs so close together they become one, and any other way I can think of to not infringe on the person next to me.
The last time I came this way, I looked at the kid next to me and said, "hey bud, sorry you had to ride next to the fat guy on this flight. I hope I wasn't too much of a bother to you."
He smiled at me, clearly appreciating my self depreciating humor, and said, "I didn't even notice. It wasn't bad at all."
I pretty sure he was sincere. I sure hope he was.
Airports are lonely places. As I sit here, there are two crew members from Delta Airlines complaining about flight attendants using Facebook mid-flight. I find it humorous. I am doing my best not to laugh.
In front of me a a man has walked up to the bar in this food court and placed his backpack and laptop back on the bar. His bright red, flower print shorts accented by his "The Dude Abides" t-shirt - wow Jeff Bridges looks bad in screenprint - is messing with his phone. I assume he is telling someone where he is at, hope welling in his breast of a friendly reunion at the end of his flight.
His haircut and glasses indicate, to me anyway, that this is a businessman returning from a trip. Possibly somewhere tropical, his shorts could be a giveaway here, and possibly from the arms of a love. One kept secret from the wife and kids, one that is often the main reason for his business trips. But what the hell do I know?
I see lots of people come and go from this food court. Most of them walking to their gates, searching in an airport that is way too large.
Two hours and fifteen minutes to go before I board. Oh joyous day.
The two crew members have left, racing off to their planes. One is complaining that his is late, the other listens, wishes him well and then heads off.
I sent a text to my wife, when we landed, to let her know that I had made it to Minneapolis safely. She and the kids were just getting home from taking me to the airport.
My hope is that this trip zips right by. Truth be told, it's feeling a little daunting right now.