Snagging a Table for One?
By Maria Anderson, Pi-Montana (initiate)
Over this past year as a traveling CDC, I’ve been on 87 flights, through 34 airports … running through O’Hare to make a connection 37 times, exactly. I’ve spent 8 days 4 hours and 23 minutes in the air, flying over 70,000 miles, and have been delayed for a total of 1 day 5 hours and 5 minutes … but I think that might be a lowball. (Thanks, to the app Mileways for all the data!)
Growing up, something my dad constantly reminded me was to only worry about things you have control over. I always appreciated the sentiment, but it was a lot easier said than done. It is so easy to get wrapped up in life’s little inconveniences and to let them ruin your day. However, my experience as a CDC gave me a whole lot of opportunities to practice my dad’s wise advice.
I never could control the weather in Iowa, the spread-out layout of Washington Dulles Airport, or the fact that I only flew through Denver on Sundays when Chick-Fil-A was closed. I could not control my many missed connections, flight delays and hours spent in airports. With so much out of my control, I learned to focus on and cherish the things I could control—my time, my attitude and my appetite.
With flight delays came extra free time. I used to dread waiting around, being bored and just wanted to go-go-go! Throughout the year, I learned that I didn’t have to spend delays twiddling my thumbs and refreshing Facebook for the sixteenth time. Delays = more time to explore or just to take a moment to myself. My favorite way to spend this bonus time became scoping out the restaurant scene and treating myself to the best looking food at the coolest sounding restaurant. Oftentimes, I was drawn to a place where I could watch sports and make new friends.
Eating alone can be scary and uncomfy. Before being a CDC, you couldn’t catch me at a restaurant by myself. The first time I sat alone, I was anxious and felt embarrassed to be all by myself. It took time for me to get comfortable starting up conversations with strangers. Now, I enjoy finding a single seat at a bar, and chatting with the servers and other travelers. I developed a new level of independence and confidence, and I can ALMOST explain what exactly a CDC is to a middle-aged traveling businessman in two sentences.
Going into my CDC experience, I didn’t consider the ability to eat alone as something I would take away from this year. Even now, as I write this, it seems like such a minuscule thing. Nevertheless, where I began my year feeling lonely and awkward eating alone, I now feel fiercely independent snagging a table for one.
To sum it all up, my dad once again proves that dads are the wisest men around and there’s not a single bad travel day that a delicious burger and a ballgame can’t fix.
ITB, CDC Maria