Strobe lights probed the crack in the curtains, finding my eyes. Loud rumble of thunder found the ears shortly after. A glance at the clock confirms what I feared. 1:14 AM and under two hours until the alarm on my phone is set to go off. 2:54 and various atttempts at sleep, meditation and mental math have carried me to the inevitable and I was up before the alarm. I’d switched to a morning flight when the evening flight delays and cancellations started stacking up, grabbing a room at a Doubletree I’ve spent too many nights in over the years.

Too early for the airport. I know this. But the alternative is to toss around in bed trying to squeeze an hour more sleep out of the night. Not me. So I shuttle over to the airport with a crew of Spirit Airlines talkers listening to which airports have quiet places to sleep when your flight plans get blown up. Finally in the airport, too early for TSA Pre-Check, but with only 12 people in front of me who cares? The guy in front of me, that’s who. We all handle sleep deprivation differently. In the morning, no matter the sleep pattern, I simply don’t care about slight affronts to my Pre-Check ego.

Gliding my carry-on through the airport I try to avoid waking up the nappers trapped in the airport. If I had a restless sleep in my hotel they surely have more to say. I won’t be the one to wake them up. Looking out at the sheets of rain rolling down the glass punctuated by heat lightning I wonder if I should have just stayed at the hotel. Flight is still listed as on time, and all I have is optimism and a healthy dose of hope that this flight goes as planned.

Talking heads on CNN analyze last night’s debate. My noise canceling headphones barely overcome the volume of the speakers blasting through the waiting areas. I count my blessings again for getting a hotel room. This trip on balance is still positive, but it’s also another vote for less business travel. Time is fleeting, and this is no way to spend it.

“Be still my heart; thou hast known worse than this.” – Homer

I revisit this Homer quote at times when optimism wanes. That hasn’t happened just yet but I have it at the ready. The other is “This too shall pass”. And it will, so I roll with the changes, like that REO Speedwagon song, which sounds like the perfect choice to drown out debate talk right about now. And just like that the pulse quickens just enough. It’s going to be a good day.

And then before I know it we’re at 34,000 feet and things look brighter. Things do pass, given time and patience. I keep reminding myself of that, and the world keeps reinforcing it in return.