Holiday Travel Secrets
By Carly Yansak
“Where are you flying into?”
“Atlanta to Philadelphia,” I reply. This has apparently made me some type of travel expert:
“Oh! Well, can you help me for a minute? Do you know why my ticket says this?”
I stare blankly at her for a moment – it’s 4 a.m. Blank is the only expression I can muster, though what I really want to convey is malice.
“I don’t even know where Panama City is,” she continues, “how could I have a lay over in it?”
“It’s in Florida…” I offer. It’s all I’ve got.
Holiday travel - it’s the worst part of the season - we all know it. It causes sane people to ask insane questions, it makes us want to get out of the car and drag that motherfucker out of his so we can beat him unconscious, and it’s always tempting you to stab that flight attendant, whose hit you with the beverage cart three times now, with the nail file you snuck on.
It’s okay. It’s normal - there’s a general feeling of angst accompanying holiday traveling. We’re all moving towards family dramas, pasts we’ve left behind, places we swore we’d never go back to. After your fifth Bloody Mary in some nameless chain in some generic terminal, you’re wondering: what will they think of me, of my life? How will they judge me? And what will I think of them, of their lives? How will I judge them?
The stress of it all, it twists us up. Then, throw our contorted minds onto a crowded highway, airport or bus terminal and man, is it over. Those repressed feelings have found their outlet.
And you know what? This, I have discovered, is good.
If you unleash your holiday crazy on strangers instead of loved ones, your holiday is bound to be much more pleasant. The strangers will make it easy to do so, too.They will test your patience, try your kindness and absolutely fuck with your sanity.
Luckily, after years of traveling through some of the worst airports (aka, PHL), and braving some of the worst traffic (aka, I-95) I have reached a state of enlightenment. I have found the perfect way to untangle my anxiety and make my holiday traveling easier at the same time. This philosophy is my gift to you, my fellow weary travelers:
Remember you are always right. I should have offered this gem to Ms. Panama City. For a FACT, you know when you booked the flight there was no 7-hour lay over in Wichita Falls. Never mind the empty wine bottle next to your keyboard when you did it, there’s just no way, and don’t let that know-it-all Delta counter girl tell you anything less. If you wear your confidence like chainmail, begin demanding to see supervisors and threatening to Yelp a review that would cause bankruptcy, they will cave. Which leads me to my next point of advice:
- Become a bigger problem then they care to deal with. It’s Christmas Eve, and there is a line longer than Bon Jovi’s sexual conquests behind you. The last thing this single mother of 5 children wants to do is keep dealing with you, a person that could halt the line for the next hour. Repeat profanity, job-on-the-line remarks and over the top demands are not excessive, they’re necessary.
- Use positive visualization. No matter what situation, this tactic is bound to sooth the fiery soul. Stuck behind that guy going 15 in a 35 because he drank too much eggnog? Imagine his tire blows out, causing him to spin uncontrollably and then, shit, he’s way too acquainted with that tree. Woman in the seat next to you talking about her bunions far too loud? Picture wrapping your headphones around her neck ‘til oh, look, she can’t speak because her esophagus is crushed.
- Medicate. There is nothing wrong with Xanax if the “doctor” prescribes it (I’m your doctor).
- Never forget what lies ahead. Presents. At the end of all this, you get presents. Glorious, glorious gifts that even if they do suck, you can return them for cash and buy what you’d really like.
They are tactics that, all in one, release my inner frustration all while clearing a path to the gate wider then your Aunt Mildred’s waistline. After these emotional spa sessions, you’ll be unwound, purged. You’ll find it doesn’t matter how everyone will judge you or how you’ll judge them. All that will matter is you arrived, and the people who are there to welcome you – well, they aren’t so bad.