Boomer Grandpa: If you can make it there, you've made it through the airport
I just spent a week in Queens, N.Y., on some business. For a small-town boy, it's quite the place. Despite what people in the Midwest may think, I found the New Yorkers I dealt with very friendly and passionate about their work. Some of the places where we dined during the week were spectacular.
However, to get to New York City, I had to get on an airplane. We all know things have changed at the airport in recent years. The security lines can be brutal. It took me 50 minutes just to walk through the entrance maze of poles and ropes, with many people who had unpleasant expressions on their faces.
It's like you are attending a famous movie premiere, but nobody was ecstatic about it. I literally got dizzy going back and forth so many times. It was a busy Monday morning. It is also not really fun to listen to all the cell phone conversations around you as people speak in loud voices (but of course they do not think they are being loud).
I try my darnest to keep track of my boarding pass, ID, phone, watch, wallet, comb, pen, change, belt, shoes, stuff in my shirt pocket and, of course, my laptop. The more I try to organize myself going through security, the more I seem confused.
After I staggered out of the security checkpoint, it takes me about 10 minutes to get myself together. I always seem to temporarily misplace something in the frenzied transition of taking everything off and throwing them in those big grey trays. Sometimes my driver's license and my eyeglasses end up in one of my shoes. On this morning, I somehow lost the pen I had in my pocket.
As I headed to the gate I heard an announcement over the PA system for someone to return to the security check point to retrieve an item left behind. I can relate.
As a baby boomer I am certainly impressed with the young, business warrior travelers thriving in a technology-fixated world. They are decked out in the rock star Bluetooth ear attachments, very cool phones, and some have two or three gadgets operating at a time. They look pretty darn impressive. Heck, some are even conducting business while they are in the bathroom stall. Well, maybe that's not very impressive. You would think a client would ask, "Is that a flushing toilet I hear?"
As I travel for my occasional consultant job, I desperately hope for no delays. Unfortunately on this day, once I got on the plane, sat down, buckled my seat, bad announcements started to come. Announcement number one — delay for one to two hours — stay on the plane. Announcement number two — delay for four hours — deplane. Eventually, we did reload and took off — about four hours late. I missed my early Monday evening meeting but arrived in Queens just in time for a late dinner.
One rule we had in the business group I was with was no chain restaurants. We sampled some terrific New York bagels, ate at some remarkable classic "Ma & Pa" delis, along with some excellent restaurants. One evening we ate at the Cross Bay Diner. This diner had recently re-opened after total devastation by Hurricane Sandy.
Our last evening in town after our job was complete, we battled New York traffic and drove over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan and got down to Chinatown to have dinner at Joe's Shanghai.
New York is one amazingly diverse city. Over the years I have heard it referred to as a melting pot of not only America, but the world. It is incredible to experience.
I remember going to New York City a few years after 9/11 for business and now this trip one year after Sandy. The spirit and strength of these New Yorkers is extraordinary.
Finally Friday came and I got back on a plane. Everything was on time this time, and as the wheels of the plane touched down in Minneapolis I was in high spirits.
I was welcomed home by my family. The greetings and hugs I got from my two grandchildren warmed my soul. I was certainly happy to be back in my very own growing, changing and diverse city.
Grandkid Quote of the Week
Shortly after I returned from New York, the grandkids came over to see me. At one point, I told my granddaughter I had to go out to the shed to look for a file. My granddaughter said, "I will help you look Grandpa." As we walked together toward the shed, my granddaughter said, "Grandpa?" I said, "Yes?" She asked, "What is a file?"