Warning: nostalgia alert!This spring, he schedule board at New Haven, CT’s Union Station will be replaced with an LED version as part of a $5 million improvement process. I don’t use this particular train station much, usually only for Amtrak travel… but you only need to wait for one delayed trip before you learn the anxiety that sets in when the board starts clacking and flipping through the various options.
I’m no stranger to this Solari board. There used to be one in the Honolulu airport. I remember it well. I spent my childhood summers in Hawaii. The flight attendants shuttled me kindly as I flew the 5,000 miles between my mother and my father. I was that kid with the ‘unaccompanied minor’ sign around my neck, who got to de-plane before everyone else, even first class. Back in the 80’s, the Hawaii leg of the trip still felt special. You had a different menu from the mainland flights and I even remember printed version! The flight attendants with seniority (who qualified for the good routes) donned tropical-inspired uniforms, worn only to-and-from the islands. And you got little packets of Mauna Loa macadamia nuts and could ask for a can of Hawaiian Sun guava juice. All this, just from sitting in coach on a domestic airline! These days, with airport security risks and airlines struggling to survive, these niceties for your island holiday are long gone, like a distant vacation memory.
Back to that HNL airport sign board, I only looked at it when we would arrive for my red-eye flight back to the mainland. I would clear agriculture (no mangos or lychee for the flight home) and every time that board would start fluttering maddly, I would secretly hope my flight status would be: CANCELED. Not because I didn’t miss my life back home, because who in their right mind would want to leave a tropical paradise to head back to elementary school?