I have gone to so many airports this year. Time changes when all you can wait for is your plane, and you’re not as much somewhere as waiting to be somewhere else. When my flight got cancelled on the way home from spring break, border control stamped my passport twice in one day: once exiting, once entering. We laughed at the cheerful voice saying “Bienvenue à Paris!” as they ushered us back out of the gate we were trying so hard to leave.
When you’re flying by yourself, you have to pass the time somehow. I like watching the flight map, but there are lots of options: you can watch movies and make the butter last on your roll for as long as possible. You can debate whether or not to declare the sparkling water you’re bringing home in your backpack, and you can think about how you only drink cranberry juice on planes, and why is that?
And then you land and you’re on vacation and time can’t move slowly enough. I brought a disposable camera with me on spring break because I wanted to have a limit on how much time I could spend taking pictures. I managed to get photos of parks and bridges and four-Euro Camembert, but also photos of the night we got to go through Daylight Savings Time. We were out late, so late that the metros were closed and all we could do was walk and eat chips. I found roses on the street and carried them with me, and then it was three—the first train was at five. And then we said that no, it wasn’t three, it was four! We had lost an hour but it was okay; we were going to go home.
But I got another night of vacation when the hydraulics on my plane broke. I didn’t have any exposures left on my camera, but I still have plenty of memories of that night: a stressful taxi ride and a really big box of pasta with extra cheese and a little bit of broken glass and some piggyback rides and mostly that blissful feeling of being given extra time.