Noise and Peace

“Yeah, I promise. No more running around in the airport.”

In a way, this is dreamy. I am taking a trip on my own without my family, without my wife and three children under eight years of age.

Peace and quiet.

No kids to yell at with a “No,” “NO!” or even a “FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, NO!” No kids to watch out for and call after to come back now as they run through customs at the airport. Or to tell off for fiddling with the buttons here, there and everywhere, and, worse, the levers and the joystick for the loading bridge to the airplane.

I am on my own in the airport for a trip to Los Angeles from my home in Argentina. I have my book and a cup of expensive coffee and time on my hands. Relax, think, read, ponder, doodle, doze and watch people walk by. This is pure peace and quiet.

And I’m bored.

It’s better to have noise. It’s better to have clamor. It’s better to have my three children running around (with constraints) and begging for candy, spilling soft drinks down their shirts and lying down on a carpet trampled by a thousand feet a day – and in the way of a thousand feet. We get stares of “What a lovely family” and “Man, get those kids under control,” as well as “Goodness, I hope that family isn’t on our flight!” Yes, it can get tiring and stressful to watch after three kids on a long flight, with the littlest one wandering into first class for the 17th time. My wife will tell me to get my – not our – children under control. And then she’ll elbow me as I nod off at take off. I respond saying that takeoffs always make me sleepy, something to do with the oxygen levels. And she says, “I know. It always happens to you… not me.” Then we smile and laugh as our children make friends with bored adults. Then cringe as they spill their trays of food on my wife’s lap. But we laugh. It’s the only way to travel. Yeah, enough of this peace and quiet traveling on my own. Noise is better.

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