We Have Always Lived in the Airport Lounge
Posted on October 6, 2019 Posted by John Scalzi 30 Comments
The trip home began yesterday with a jaunt from Canberra to Melbourne, with a stay in the Qantas Airport lounge preceding the flight. An overnight stay at a hotel here at the airport, and now I’m loitering in the Melbourne Airport Centurion Lounge, awaiting a flight a 3 hour 45 minute flight to Auckland, and five hours in the Air New Zealand Lounge there. Then 15 hours in the air to Houston and three hours in the United Polaris Club, and then a two and half hour flight to Dayton.
After a certain point the alternation between plane and airport lounge becomes a little surreal. It’s not purgatory but it’s probably limbo; its an interstitial life. The good news is at the end of it I get to be at home with my wife and cats and my own bed. It’ll be worth the journey.
But in the meantime: Airport lounge.
During one trip through an airport I witnessed an Army reserve unit of about two dozen young men and women in fatigues using their backpacks and duffel bags as pillows sleeping on the carpet of a public area.
I doubt you will get 3 hours in the lounge in Houston, it really depends on customs.
This is why I have Global Entry.
You aren’t going to get three hours in the lounge in Houston. Maybe an hour, unless Customs and TSA are running unusually smoothly.
Global Entry has gotten me through customs in the same two minutes it has apparently taken you. Worth every penny for the international traveler.
So, 30 hours or so starting from Melbourne airport, your current location? Whew.
I am trying to imagine how much you would have to pay me to do two 30+ hour trips in a week for anything and I just can’t. Was it more or less than the Tor contract?
Actually about your book – I just wanted to say that I love you because you used the word ‘band’ without ‘together’. i thought I would never ever see it again. Thanks!
Oh, please please tell me the post title is an allusion to Shirley Jackson’s “We Have Always Lived in the Castle”! It’s one of my favorite books of all time.
Otherwise, fabulously beautiful and eerie photo–it has a touch of the “haunted Art Deco hotel” look to it. Kind of Stephen King-ish in atmosphere…which is what the travel process sounds a bit like, too. Glad you will be snug at home in your comfy bed with cats & spouse before long. Have a long, lovely sleep accompanied by much purring and snuggling!
And don’t call you Shirley?
Wow. I didn’t do the math, but it feels like you spent more time traveling to and from destination than you spent AT destination.
For you to ponder on your way home: Cats Like People! (Some People, Anyway) https://nyti.ms/2mZUq63 ***NY Times article
Global Entry is awesome and so worth it!
Good luck with the test of the trip!
He started on a trip across continents. He became trapped in the airport lounge of The Twilight Zone
I’m trying to psych myself up for the trip to WorldCon in New Zealand next year. You’re not helping…
Can’t get ballistic shuttles soon enough…
It was all worth it just for that airport lounge retro mod pic! Especially since I didn’t have to pay any of the actual travel / time costs myself ..
>> Kind of Stephen King-ish in atmosphere… >>
Now there’s a novel idea. By which I mean an idea for a novel.
Haunted airport lounge/lounges. The Frequent Flier lead gets caught up in a romance with another frequent flier, plus ghost issues, and then great danger, and malevolent ghosts are manipulating the weather to force them to land where (and for how Lon) the eldritch forces need them to, and…
I dunno. I’d read it.
… But… What did you do to the other travellers?
I need to upgrade to it. I really could have used it this year coming back from Japan.
Heh, kurtbusiek, re:
>>Now there’s a novel idea. By which I mean an idea for a novel.<<
In fact, John's whole post, with the title, that amazing photo and the travel description did remind me rather strongly (not in specifics, but atmosphere) of a train trip I took a few years ago. Several ominous (or at least unsettling) events happened in the 12 hours or so preceding and up to finally boarding the train, which led to a story idea (I write, though I'm no Scalzi!) that I can only describe as Stephen King-esque. I mean, the working title is "Go To Hell, Stephen KIng."
So in response: yup! (Though I'd read the one you proposed, too. Maybe you should write it!)
Am reminded of Le Guin’s Changing Planes …. I hope all the travel goes well.
I expect everything in the Centurion Lounge is by your command…
Delbert Grady voice: “No sir, Mr. Scalzi, you are the caretaker of the airport lounge. You’ve always been the caretaker.”
Somewhere I read a SF/horror short story about a traveler who has missed their connection home and has spent days trying and failing to make connections to get home (through Detroit or O’Hare?). At one point he tries to give up and take a taxi to the city and take the train, but the taxi is forced to take him back to the airport, and the driver explains that the traveler has been cursed to some kind of limbo.
I thought about this story when I was stuck at O’Hare a few weeks ago.
And then I thought of Scalzi’s experience with O’Hare and Lyft, and I took a Lyft to my destination.
M.A. – you should be able to replace JS’s AKL-MEL-CBR legs (6hr flight time and two multi-hour wait times) with AKL-WLG (1hr flight time plus a single 2-4 hour wait). There is at least one AirNZ AKL-WLG flight each hour 6am to 9pm.
As for the ultimate airport lounge experience: “In 1971 Sarah Krassnoff got into a fight with the father of her 14-year-old grandson over custody and upbringing. For months she and the boy flew from New York to Amsterdam and back daily, usually without leaving the airports, to evade the father — perhaps 160 trips in all that ended only when she died of the effects of jet lag.”
This story was one element of the play / performance piece “Jet Lag” that was put on at “The Kitchen” in NYC back in early 2000. https://www.nytimes.com/2000/01/14/movies/theater-review-technology-as-a-setting-for-isolation-and-defeat.html
Hey Literaterose, I too thought of the Shirley Jackson title. I have the book, but I stored it away without reading It. For me, for now, that book is in limbo like a certain airport lounge.
Shirley Jackson and Stephen King, yes. But also the 2004 Steven Speilberg movie “THE TERMINAL” and Kate Millett’s 1990 memoir “THE LOONEY BIN TRIP”. Yikes! Hopefully, life does NOT imitate art!
John, whatever your fees for this trip, you EARNED ’em. Yikes.
I think you ought to capitalize the “the” in the title since there is only one airport lounge. It’s like LibrarySpace.