Traveling While Old

I’m 73 and approaching that point when friends say they are beginning to curtail travel because it’s too effortful. I’m not there yet, although the trip home on Friday was slightly effortful. First I got pulled over for extra random screening — three men and two women. They took the men right away, but there was no female TSA officer available for us. I get to the airport in plenty of time so wasn’t concerned, but the other woman had a flight to catch and was quite agitated. TSA officers get snarky when people yell at them, so I just kept saying quietly that it wasn’t fair to pull us over and then not be able to do the screening, and could they possible figure out how to help? Finally they found someone and I was through in three seconds. Interestingly, they took me first — likely because I wasn’t making a fuss.

Then the flight was delayed for a maintenance issue. First they said they’d try to find a plane to swap out, but that didn’t prove do-able. Then they said they’d fix the plane and it would take two hours — but not to leave the gate area because it might be faster. I took a chance and scooted over to the United Club, in part to get my snack and in part because their service desk gets better information. Sure enough, they called maintenance directly and said I should be back at the gate no later than one hour from that moment since the repair wasn’t going to take as long as expected. I had my glass of wine and some cheese and crackers and then a square of carrot cake, and headed back to the gate.

The flight did take off, and I was home only a couple of hours later than planned — but it was after midnight Seattle time and I didn’t get to bed until around 1:40am. I’d had a very restful week, and my brother-in-law drove me to the airport so I didn’t have to deal with returning a rental car. I even got a chair massage before boarding the plane, as there was one right opposite the gate and I had the extra 20 minutes. That said, I was really tired on Saturday. I got everything done in terms of grocery shopping and unpacking/laundering, went to Sara and Ben’s to water, then logged my 4 miles, 10,000 steps — but I really felt the travel in my body.

Still planning to travel without any hesitation, but am feeling a slight inkling of what people mean when they say it’s too effortful.


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