Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, people would travel half a day to distant destinations without a laptop, a computer or a portable video game. I was one, and this is our story.
To pass the time, we brought with us reading materials made of paper, cloth, sometimes even leather. We carried pens, pencils — toys and crayons for the younger set. We worked crossword puzzles and tried to stay within the lines of our coloring books. We knitted scarves for our boyfriends, crocheted blankets for our grandchildren. We scrawled notes on yellow legal pads to prepare for our meetings. We slept a little; played a few games of 20 questions or GHOST with our traveling companions; perhaps conversed with our fellow passengers; quietly pondered the deep questions of the universe. We drank weak coffee and strong cocktails. We ate indigestible meals served at regular intervals.
Upon arrival, we would search the crowd for the faces of our loved ones, or for a driver with a sign bearing our name. If neither materialized, we might seek out a pay phone. Or dash to the Hertz counter to try to rent a car. Or rush outside to stand in long lines waiting for a taxi – for which we’d pay in the coin of the realm (if we had arrived in a foreign land, we’d probably need to make a stop first at the currency-exchange desk).
The journey was arduous, but we survived.