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Traveling With Miss Smart (Vol.2): Airport Entertainment

Posted Dec 21 2010 8:07am
Miss Smart's Guide to Avoiding Boredom in the Airport (and In Flight)
How To Handle Layovers Like a Pro*

*(fessional)...professional what, I'm not sure.

#1 Explore your departing airport. Fend off impending, inevitable homesickness by absorbing as much of your local culture as possible pre-departure. Why is the Austin-Bergstrom Airport so awesome? Well, partially because all of the stores and restaurants are locally owned and operated chains, including Austin Java ... ...and Book People [the largest independent book store in the country!] As this was the first time I had left Austin since arriving last summer...
...I was excited for the trip (and to see my family!)...
...but also oddly sad to be saying goodbye. [Duh, I know I'm going back. I don't think that's the weird thing. I think what we should be concerned about is that jars of salsa made me melancholy.] #2-Munch on your Christmas gifts* from Teddy (or whoever dropped you off at the airport...because if he or she didn't give you a gift when you left, well, you should find someone else to drop you off).

*I don't recommend munching on Christmas gifts you are taking to give to others.
[Egyptian chocolates! A beautiful green scarf! (Don't eat that.)]
#3-Befriend the small "unaccompanied minor" sitting next to you on the plane. Talk to him about his favorite books (Warriors) and subjects in school (Science). Try not to laugh when he holds out his MP3 player and says, "I bet you've never heard this song," and it is "Hotel California" by the Eagles. Do not feel the need to reprimand him when you offer him one of the afore-pictured Egyptian chocolates and he doesn't hesitate about taking candy from strangers.

#4-Luxuriate in a free Diet Coke (your drug of choice). #5- Decide you love Southwest Airlines because, even though this whole "open seating" thing is a pity, you not only are able to check bags for free....they make PLANE CRACKERS! #6-Read. (If you are lucky enough to have received an Egyptian Hieroglyphic Alphabet bookmark as part of that previously mentioned Christmas gift, be happy that you've already found a use for it.) #7- Discover local culture in the airport where you have a layover....
...whether that includes hanging out with Taylor Swift.... (And listening to her friends.) ...or simply scoffing at the city's claims to fame, knowing that you live in the REAL music city. #8-Draw inspiration from the wide array of cooking magazines available for your perusal... ...or the locally-made food items offered for 500% more than you could buy them outside of the airport. Are chocolate-almond-peanut butter truffle (S)ara(h)bars be coming in my future? Or Goo Goo (S)ara(h)bars, with peanuts, chocolate, caramel, and marshmallow? #9-Buy a present for your mom. [She loves Moon Pies as a holdover from her southern upbringing...but you can't find these in Pennslyvania.] #10-Take advantage of being a teacher... ...and having a stockpile of unused Starbucks gift cards in your wallet... "purchasing" a Christmas Blend coffee. (Into which I recommend you put cinnamon, sugar, chocolate, and nutmeg...along with a splash of milk.) #11-Make interesting snacks using the honey almond butter you conveniently stashed in your purse to the amusement (and/or) bewilderment of those sitting around you.
the last of the almond butter... + the pumpkin pie yogurt that narrowly made it through security
[Hear Jack Johnson singing, "It's always better when we're together."] + a banana that you awkwardly cut with a plastic spoon
+ a mix of delicious cereal....
(...from the smiling, happy Goldfish)
Why is he so happy? He's happy for YOU, because that was the best snack in a jar EVER. If there were snack-in-a-jar awards, it would have been a serious contender. #12-Watch a movie on your portable DVD player (or laptop) [Thanks Netflix !]...
...but make sure to fast forward through the awkwardly graphic 'adult-themed' scenes in the beginning. Otherwise, you might get strange looks from people around you. [Even if you have headphones know they are looking to see what you are watching.]

#13- Or, watch episodes of your new favorite TV show. If making elaborately conceived snacks in the middle of the airport terminal doesn't embarrass you, then laughing out loud shouldn't either. #14-Take all of the food items out of your bag and photograph them...
...from multiple angles, and in various groupings and arrangements, of course. If you are still can always just be inconspicuous and put on your IPod, zoning out into a sleepy doze. No one will look at you or find you very interesting or weird.

But where's the fun in that?
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