Over the weekend I found myself enduring a 3-hour layover in what may be the worst airport in the world. I’m not going to name names, but it’s in Chicago and rhymes with “Bidway.” I mean, it might have been bearable if it weren’t for the sweltering concourse, the long lines for every bathroom, the astonishing lack of coffee, and frequent last-minute terminal changes that sparked frantic human stampedes. As it was, I felt like I had been banished to a particularly unpleasant section of hell for a never-ending afternoon. Here are a few ways I passed the time, and a few ways I wish I would have passed the time. Feel free to use this list next time you find yourself stuck in a terrible airport for a terrible layover…
1. Visit every restaurant and see how long it takes to find a fresh vegetable. Want an extra challenge? Iceberg lettuce doesn’t count.
2. Consider starting a souvenir snow globe collection.
3. Listen to everyone hacking, wheezing, and sniffling around you and guess which cough belongs to Patient Zero.
4. Sit down at a food court table without checking the chair, then go to the bathroom and count how many sticky crumbs are stuck to your ass. Try to beat your own record!
5. Use the last of your phone battery to look at a high school acquaintance’s vacation photos on Facebook.
6. Go to the airport bookstore and switch the magazines in the “Men’s Interest” section with the ones in the “Women’s Interest” section. Watch the patriarchy crumble.
7. Try to find an item in the local gift shop that’s not made in China.
8. Walk the wrong way down one of those moving walkways so no matter how hard you try to move forward, you stay in one place. Yell, “This is a metaphor for life!”
9. Find a hot pilot and ask him how he got so fly.
10. Stare at the departures/arrivals screen. Unfocus your eyes and see if the numbers blur into the shape of a dinosaur.
11. Observe random people and make up entertaining stories about their lives. For example, maybe that businessman ahead of you in line at Quizno’s is actually a spy! Get so engrossed in the fantasy that you whisper, “The eagle has landed” when he turns around.
12. Catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and wonder how you have aged 20 years in 2 hours.
13. Ask people for directions to the Empire State Building. When they tell you it’s in New York, be like, “Wait, where am I?”
14. Cry in a bathroom stall.
15. Use a leftover newspaper and the unidentified gunk under your terminal chair to make a beautiful collage!
16. Watch how confused and angry people get when they are asked to line up in numerical order and ponder how much longer we have until our society collapses.
17. Go to that one rich old lady store that every airport has; convince yourself that $200 paisley-print linen pants are a wise investment.
18. Every time a plane takes off, stare at it intensely and trace its path with your hands so everyone thinks you have the Force.
19. Eavesdrop on TSA agents discussing the giant dildo they confiscated last week.
20. Get drunk on watery airport cocktails and tell a stranger about all your issues with your mom.