A fond farewell to Susan, Zoe, Nead. And a tearful farewell with Marcia. It seems I’m getting less agoraphobic, or there’s just more development to break up the expanse.

Airport security lacks organization. The curbside check in requires a long walk to a door not clearly labeled. And I received a printed a boarding pass after I presented my e-pass.

DIA must have some hope of expansion since the numbers at Gate C run from 1 to 99, but there are only 51 places to board.

I witnessed the new fad: “therapy” pets without vests because people don’t want to pay, $99 according to the woman behind me in line. Flight was supposedly full, but when I took my leg stretch, I saw an entire empty row plus three or four empty singles.

Remind me never to buy a bagel west of Pennsylvania. It was redeemed by an Americano, both from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

Fierce storms had pummeled the country’s midsection, and we had to circle north. We encountered some bumps but otherwise the flight proved uneventful. The joke: the head attendant said as we touched down, “Wow! Let’s give a round of applause. Not bad for the pilot’s first flight!”

The leg from BWI to Hartford was of course delayed – by a half-hour, forty-five minutes, an hour, depending on whether it was the Southwest text, the board at the airport, or the information being handed out by the staff. We took off an hour and a half late.

While I was grabbing a bite to eat at the airport, I heard applause. And then more. It got louder, and I saw people standing up. Sales clerks left their posts to step into the aisle. It took perhaps thirty seconds for the cause to appear. There was an entire platoon (?) of military folks – painfully young looking men and women — so many of color — in fatigues, carrying their duffles. Everyone stood and applauded. A few minutes later another smaller group came through to another round of applause. A moving experience, but I kept thinking of the people left behind in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

The joke by the head attendant on this leg was trying to claim that we were headed to Cabo San Lucas. Based on her accent, she could have legitimately said Montego Bay and I would have been thrilled.

As soon as I walked out of the airport after a forty-five minute flight, the wet hot blanket of humidity descended. I almost turned around to book a flight back to the high desert.

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