I wake up with a start and drool on my chin. I feel dazed and disoriented. My neck hurts. My back is stiff. My brain feels like it is full of dust bunnies. There is the constant thrum of escalators ever moving; some always up, some always down.
Through the thin scarf I’ve thrown over my face (to block out the incessant fluorescent lights) I see a bleak scene. Bodies are scattered everywhere. Some are slouched in lounge chairs, as I am, trying to get a few moments respite. Others are lying on the floor; heads and shoulders shoved under chairs like over-sized Marmadukes trying to fit in a pup tent.
Slouched in my own lounge chair, I see them, fellow travelers sleeping or just resting after a long day of hopeful waiting.
We are spending the night in the Denver International Airport. Might I add: through no fault of our own. Days-long high winds kept many flights earthbound over the preceding days. We are the fall-outs. Bumped from our flights so those before us could get to home or vacation destinations.
Is this what the airlines told us? God, no! We were given “other excuses.” The flight was over-booked. Your plane had mechanical failure. And on and on.
That’s when you notice the “little things” and stroll calmly over to their podium and read the notice on the side (in small print). It says, in effect, flights are overbooked. Even if you have a confirmed reservation it is still possible you could be placed on a later flight. Welcome to our present economy where airlines do not want to have even one seat empty.
However, there is an upside to our unplanned camp in. The airport has this nice lounge area for our use. With fluorescent lighting everywhere, various hues of gray permeate our vision.
There are a couple of wide screens mounted for our viewing pleasure….showing constantly changing pictures of the Denver area. Oooh!
One fellow has obviously availed himself of their free innovative sleep masks.
They also provide a super extra, extra firm mattress with a luxurious indoor/outdoor carpet mattress-topper. Ahhh!
And, yes, I did it! I slept on the floor at the airport. At least for a couple of hours. It couldn’t be helped. I needed to just stretch out and lie down.
I found an area with desks and chairs in a corner of the travelers lounge. Used my computer bag as a pillow. Put a hoodie on over my vest, socks on my feet and laid down on the floor. What a grit!
I did not care. Everyone else was doing it. As I fell asleep my thoughts turned to creepy crawlies and cooties, my invisible bedmates on the airport floor. Believe me, when you are exhausted it really doesn’t matter!
After a while I made my way to the lounge chair where I awoke at 5AM to the smell of coffee. The glorious aroma wafted from the Caribou Coffee counter.
With hot coffee in hand I greeted the day looking out on the pre-dawn Denver Airport tarmac with planes and baggage carts and shuttle busses just going about the day like any other.
And, so did I!