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Bon Journal

Direct flight to Houston

Two hours before departure and I was the lone passenger in ten empty queues at the Continental desk at Gatwick Airport. When asked why, the ticketing agent coughed apologetically and said that the Newark flights were more full.

The duty free shopping bags have been replaced with unmarked see-through plastic bags as a result of September 11th. Except for double the number of security staff, my departure for the US was as normal as before.

The half-empty Boeing 777 gave me more room in economy class than in business. I had the entire row to myself undisturbed. So I wrote the following notes on a thin napkin.

It's less than one hour before landing, and I'm already bored stiff. Unlike Virgin Atlantic which keeps you entertained, Continental has neither the video variety nor the newspapers available. But for a direct flight to Houston, STG 377 roundtrip was a bargain.

Only when I'm travelling do I feel like I have "slack" - the extra time to contemplate. I am away from all my worries and chores that keep me so mentally occupied. And so it is now that I think about my life. I'm so used to struggling and working hard that I don't take stock (enough) of what I've achieved. I'm always looking ahead (planning) or dwelling on an unreturnable past (regret?) but rarely enjoying the present.

If I take stock of what I've achieved, my list could be quite long. What next? For a time-challenged individual, I desperately want to have more personal time to pursue all those interests I have.

10 October 2001 Wednesday