Of course they scheduled a snarly storm right before Thanksgiving to make everything as miserable as possible. Everybody claims that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday, even though somebody decided to put it in November, the month of daylength collapse and despair. And then they came up with the tradition of sharing a meal of warmish damp cardboard with brown sauce, with relatives you can manage to avoid most of the year, but I want to talk about travel nightmares today.

I guess there is nothing intentional about the way airport waiting areas are so miserable even when your flight is on time. But let’s just say they fall well short of romantic. I’ll give you romantic. Imagine yourself as a wayfarer in a bygone day making the slow journey through the dense forest by carriage. It is chill outside, and rain is falling, but you are snuggled in woolen blankets with your thoughts and your humble dreams as you swap along to the rhythmic clomping of the horse’s hooves. Presently you come upon the tavern inn, where you disembark into the small main room with its warming fire and waiting tankard of stout. Contrast this to the airport, where for some reason they have bolted the chairs into rows so it is impossible to arrange a conversational grouping without metal-cutting tools, which they confiscated at security. They had to bolt the chairs down, of course, because otherwise, what? People would try to carry them back out through security? People would try to put them in the overhead bins? But at least in the airport you don’t have to stare at a darkened sky with its constellation of twinkling red tail lights on the jammed highway of unmoving cars stretching, not merely to the horizon, but to the very airport itself.

On the other hand, even with these soul-destroying delays, you will still likely beat the horse-drawn carriage to your intended destination, where your will be able to apply your travel-frayed nerves to the futile task of not arguing with your infuriating cousin, while the wayfarer is still back by the tavern fire with his tankard and contentment.