It’s exactly 10:50 p.m., the time my flight was to arrive home.
Instead I am right where I started, slumped in a leather airport chair with my feet on one of the short, round, multicolored seats drilled into the floor around a bright red table. It looks like furniture from a McDonald’s play area. The seats are short enough for toddler legs.
It seems like an outlandish accessory for the grayness of the airport.
Across from me, cables link a half dozen phones to the ports lining the back of a high counter.
Next to me, a blond woman with a scarf and visible hairspray and a greying man in black slacks and a polo shirt lament the delay. “Well do we know why?” the woman asks the man. We don’t know why.
A perky announcer informs us it’s because our pilots were stuck in Houston due to previous delays. Those delays remain mysterious, but adequately deflect blame. Our plane sits at the gate, eager and waiting outside the tall windows, so full of potential, but with no one to take the helm.
There is something so futile about a flight delay. It’s like being a willing captive. Only less scary and more boring. There is nothing I can do. There is nothing the couple next to me can do. There is nothing the announcer can do.
I calculate what this all means for the time I get to lay my head on my own beautiful, marshmallow of a pillow. The result of that equation is an hour that is too far on the morning side of night.
I sit back stoically and read my book, my feet propped on the circular kid chairs. Waiting for delayed pilots to come signal my freedom.