Column: Patience almost a virtue

This is how we know Ben Franklin never went to an airport.

I usually love airports. To me, airports mean hoodies and sweatpants, people-watching and a good excuse to eat fast food and do nothing. I've never minded checking my bags, going through security and waiting around during the boarding process.

Until tonight.

It's 8:30 p.m. at the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. I just flew in from Detroit after a weekend back home, and I'm already thinking about all the stuff I have to do Monday. Guess that's what I get for going home to Michigan in the middle of September with a 20-credit schedule. Over it.

Anyway, the majority of the whole flying process went exceedingly well — no traffic on the way to the airport, short lines in Detroit, quick flight that landed early.

But the shuttles back to campus were scheduled to leave the airport at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. My flight was scheduled to land at 8:30 p.m., so I booked the late shuttle with a pipe dream of squeezing on to the earlier one.

As I hopped off the plane and down the escalator I checked my watch — 8:20 p.m., 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

Unfortunately, bags do not move as fast as my legs do, so it was time to sweat out the race between black suitcase and purple-shirted MO-X driver.

The metal of the baggage carousel gleamed menacingly as the digital analog clock glared its red LEDs in my face until 8:35 p.m. rolled around. I've had delays with bags before, but I was just hoping things would go quickly today.

So preoccupied was I with the arrival of my black suitcase, I forgot to turn around and check exit door 15 on my regular 15-second interval, and just as my eyes reached the precipice, I see the 8:30 p.m. MO-X pulling away into the night.

Well, there goes that. As I see my entire life come crashing down before my eyes, my suitcase rolls around the corner, indifferent to my predicament since the clothes inside are seeing more action than they do inside the drawers of Mark Twain Hall.

Choking back tears, I roll over to the blue "leather" seats by exit door 15. Deeming the two-hour time period between now and the 10:30 p.m. shuttle an imperative survival situation, my instincts begin to set in: take note of my surroundings, check my food rations, establish a pee corner.

Aside from the row of chairs and the occasional black tile among the sea of glossy white ones, scenery is at a loss. Not many people are waiting for a shuttle to campus on a Sunday night, and anyone that did must've taken the one at 8:30 p.m.

If it weren’t for the caramel corn and two boxes of "Phineas and Ferb" fruit snacks that my mom put in my suitcase, I probably would've died of hunger and boredom. Unable to think of anything else to do, I quickly devoured half of the gummies in a flurry of colorful plastic wrap big enough to cover the tri-state area (any "Phineas and Ferb" fans out there?).

Five minutes later, sugar-high kicking in and initial irritation with my two-hour wait fading, I begin the Spanish, English and Maneater assignments that I was supposed to do over the weekend but decided to save for my airport/shuttle time back to campus. There wasn’t going to be any light on the shuttle, so I guess having to wait around the airport for two hours was probably for the best.

Plus, Ben Franklin kept talking about patience in my English reading, so I was able to get through that assignment without feeling morally inferior to the philosophical founding father I now resent for his boring writing.

Note to the reader: to be fair, I actually made the 8:30 p.m. shuttle. My flight arrived around 7:45 p.m., my bag was there when I got downstairs and I was back to campus 15 minutes after the late shuttle would’ve just been picking me up.

But, the 10 minutes I spent waiting and wondering whether there would be ample space on the early shuttle and how I would survive the two-hour wait was enough to get the wheels turning for this one.

As Mr. Franklin himself once said, “He that can have patience can have what he will.” But he that can have an early shuttle back to campus can have a lot more fun than the kid stuck at the airport for two more hours.

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