‘The one travel essential that never appears on a list’
A couple of weeks ago Dude Man and I had dinner with the kind of couple I love to do things with in the City. They’re up for just about anything and, if weeks — or even months — go by between dinners or whatever, it doesn’t matter one whit. We just take up where we left off and have a jolly good time.
I knew the woman from a zillion years ago at Ogilvy, but our friendship got rekindled when she and her husband were on a plane to Bonaire and happened to sit next to Dr. Dude. One thing led to another and, next thing you know, we were sharing a pizza on the island and cracking each other up.
Anyway, that was years ago, and we still get together every once in a while to share a pizza on an island (Manhattan now) — and, yes, crack each other up. This last time they were telling us an air travel horror story. Trust me, even air travel horror stories can be pretty darned funny well after the fact. (You know the famous saying, right? “Comedy equals Tragedy plus Time.” True, so true. For anecdotal evidence, try out “The Gate Nazi at JFK.” Horrible and hilarious.)
This particular air travel horror story did not involve authoritarian gate agents demanding the singing of Christmas carols. No, this time the horror involved a delay — the kind of dreadful delay that drags on and on and on, and, adding to the drag, no food or water or refreshments of any kind.
Were our friends daunted by this delay? Well, they weren’t pleased, but they weren’t starving either. Because, with tremendous foresight, my friend had packed a peanut butter sandwich. (Well, actually, two peanut butter sandwiches. One for each of them.)
This, O Reader, is the Travel Trick that I never see on even the most comprehensive lists. I see packing cubes, I see headphones, I see phone chargers, I see collapsible pillows. But do I see “peanut butter sandwich?”
Oh, once in a while, I see a suggestion to bring “snacks.” But what do they mean? Fruit gets mushy. Cheese gets rubbery. And god forbid you bring something aromatic. I once was on a flight where my seatmate whipped out a carton of chinese food. And don’t get me started on the guy who brought some McDonald’s (!)
True, a peanut-butter sandwich can exude a somewhat nutty aroma. But, other than that, and the fact that it might get a bit smooshed — a problem that can be mitigated by making it foldover style — a PB&J is portable, palatable and non-confrontational.
If you find yourself saying, right about now, “Oh, but I’m going to be on an international flight and they have to serve me food” or “But I’m going to be in first class and the food will be terrific” — listen up. Your Emergency PB&J won’t take up a lot of room, and, like a spare phone charger, you might be awfully glad you’ve got it with you. (See my friend’s photo of her international-flight dinner — cup of water plus weird cracker/cookie thingie — at the top of this post. That sandwich on the left? That’s her presciently provided-by-herself PB&J.)
And if you end up not needing your PB&J after all? Eat it when you get where you’re going. Then you won’t need to go out for pizza. Though you’re going to want to go out for pizza if you’re with friends like ours.
Amagansett, New York. June 2023