The Morning: When travel plans go awry

The New York Times <>

2024-05-11 12:17

There are ways to keep anchored, even in the parallel dimension of disrupted travel.
The Morning

May 11, 2024

Good morning. When travel plans go awry, we enter a parallel universe disconnected from time. But there are ways of keeping ourselves anchored.

María Jesús Contreras

Holding pattern

The weekend trip is, in theory, the perfect break. Two nights someplace else, just a small duffel bag and limited logistics standing between you and a reset. Leave on Friday, come back Sunday, fill the hours in between with enough that’s novel and return refreshed, or at least with a slightly altered perspective. You might take a weekend trip for vacation or work or to see family, but the effect is the same. You’re a little changed on return. You see your regular life a little bit differently.

I took what was meant to be a quick trip last weekend to attend a college graduation, and it was, strictly speaking, quick: I was scarcely away for 48 hours, but extreme weather marooned me for most of those hours in the liminal spaces of transit — airports, grounded planes, traffic jams — where time loses legibility. An old friend used to call these neither-here-nor-there realms the “zero world” for the way they feel unfastened from reality, parallel to daily life but separate. The flight cabin after an announcement of a fourth lightning delay is a world detached from the one you know, a temporary society populated by temporary citizens with perhaps not much in common save one deeply held belief: We need to get out of here.

I was as cranky and impatient as the rest of my fellow travelers at each complication in our journeys, but also fascinated by the communities and customs and Cibo Express markets of the zero world. Each of us was, at any given time, one captain’s announcement away from a temper tantrum, but we were also competitively careful to be polite to one another and to the airline staff, as if determined to demonstrate that those wild videos of short-tempered passengers being duct-taped to their seats did not represent us, the makeshift civilization of this departure lounge.

Graduation, when I finally arrived, was a joyous affair despite the glitches. The speaker, an astronaut, showed a photo of the farm where she grew up, the place she thought of as home for much of her life. Then she showed a photo of the limb of the Earth, the glowing edge of the atmosphere, and described how, when she went to space, home was no longer a town on a map but this planet, a shift in perspective so massive I felt a little queasy contemplating it.

On Hour 3 in the airport bar on Sunday morning, beside two German travelers practicing Spanish, I ordered an omelet and imagined my own home, which felt very far away and lit by its own otherworldly halo. What would I be doing if I were there? Reading, texting, catching up on emails — the same things I was doing here. What was so bad about this? Was it the lack of choice? The lack of fresh air?

It was all those things, and also the feeling of being trapped in a warp between origin and destination. My emotions felt out of proportion to the situation: I hadn’t traveled very far for very long, was in no peril and would still arrive in New York with enough day left to do whatever needed to be done, but I felt on the verge of tears, loosed from my moorings, floating between fixed points, dislocated. I put on my headphones, put on a favorite band whose songs are so familiar they provide a home base no matter where I am. I listened to the same album on repeat for the duration of the flight, in the car on the way home, even at home once I finally made it there.

There’s a story in The Times today about how A.S.M.R., the pleasant, brain-tingling feeling we get when hearing certain sounds or watching certain comforting scenes, has become a feature of all viral internet content, not just specialized videos devoted to inducing the sensation. You can still put on a very specific video of someone whispering into a microphone or crinkling paper, but you’re just as likely to find the stimuli in videos of people cooking or cleaning their pools. This seems like a logical extension. We’re restless beasts in need of soothing. Sometimes we’re dramatically homesick, sometimes it’s just a bad day. Why not imbue the mundane with the choreography of comfort? Why not add pleasure whenever and wherever we can?

For more



Baby Lasagna during a dress rehearsal. Jessica Gow/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • The final round of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Sweden today. This year’s favorites include a Croatian techno act called Baby Lasagna. Read, or listen to, a guide to the competition.
  • “I won’t let anything break me”: Eden Golan, Israel’s 20-year-old entrant, spoke to The Times about the campaign to exclude her country from the event because of the war in Gaza.
  • The stage crew has 50 seconds to disassemble and reassemble sets. Watch a video from The Wall Street Journal.

Film and TV

  • “It’s easy to get caught up in the bigness of it all”: Owen Teague, the star of the latest “Planet of the Apes” film, and Andy Serkis, the lead in the earlier movies, sat down for a conversation.
  • “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is not as transporting as the previous trilogy of films, the Times critic Alissa Wilkinson writes, but “there’s still a tremendous amount to mull over.”
  • The latest season of “Doctor Who,” starring Ncuti Gatwa as the 15th actor to play the doctor, opened with a double episode. Read a recap.
  • Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery announced a plan to bundle their Disney+, Hulu and Max streaming services this summer


Other Big Stories

Mone Kamishiraishi in “Spirited Away.” Johan Persson
  • A stage version of the beloved animated film “Spirited Away” is running in London, after premiering in Japan. The adaptation is opulent and impressive, but it could use more heart, our critic writes.
  • A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction that would bar the Des Moines Art Center from dismantling “Greenwood Pond: Double Site,” an environmental work by Mary Miss that includes wooden walkways and sitting areas in need of repair.
  • The owners of the Los Angeles house where Marilyn Monroe last lived, and died, sued the city, accusing officials of “backroom machinations” to save it from a planned demolition.
  • David Shapiro, a lyrical poet who appeared in a famous photograph from the 1968 uprising at Columbia University, died at 77.


Israel-Hamas War

Other Big Stories

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News. Games. Recipes. Product reviews. Sports reporting. A New York Times All Access subscription covers all of it and more. Subscribe today.


? Back to Black (Friday): You may well have seen the online discussion about this movie, an Amy Winehouse biopic directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. The movie — which focuses on Winehouse’s relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil — was No. 1 at the British box office but divided viewers and critics, some of whom found fault with the appearance of its star, Marisa Abela. “I don’t need to convince people that they’re actually watching Amy,” Abela told The Times. “I need to remind people of her soul.”


The New York Times Cooking

Strawberry Shortcake

It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow, and if your mom has a sweet tooth (and if so, I can relate), Jane Grigson’s strawberry shortcake as adapted by Nancy Harmon Jenkins might be just the thing for a celebratory brunch. Make the biscuit dough and cut out the rounds the day before (just keep them in the fridge until baking time). Then, while they’re in the oven, you can macerate the berries (any kind you like) with sugar and prep the whipped cream. Be sure to save any leftover biscuits. They’re excellent toasted for breakfast the next day.


Mary Jo Maddeford in France. Darren S. Higgins for The New York Times

The hunt: An American took a chance on the Lake Geneva area of Eastern France, with a $300,000 budget. Which home did she buy? Play our game.

What you get for $900,000: A Frank Lloyd Wright house in Wilmette, Ill.; an 1879 three-bedroom house in Wilmington, N.C.; or a renovated ranch house in Scottsdale, Ariz.


Bianca Giaever offered to strangers near Union Square. Maansi Srivastava/The New York Times

Free help: A filmmaker, feeling unhelpful in her daily life, decided to offer small favors to passers-by in Union Square.

Made for walking: Brides are increasingly pairing cowboy boots with relaxed silhouetted dresses.

Scarlett Johansson: The actress shared her beauty regimen with T Magazine.

How to: Restoring a chair is easier than one might think. Here’s how a couple known as the Brownstone Boys did it.


Food processors, blenders and choppers

Countertop appliances can help you get a meal on the table faster, often with less work and a quicker cleanup. But deciding which gizmo is best for you can be a challenge. It depends on what kinds of foods you most frequently prepare, Wirecutter’s kitchen experts say. For example, if your main goal is to reduce the time you spend prepping ingredients, a food processor is likely your best bet. If you demand the smoothest, silkiest textures from your soups, sauces and smoothies (and have ample storage space), consider a full-size blender. Oh, and those TikTok-famous manual vegetable choppers? No one needs those. — Rose Lorre


Caitlin Clark in a preseason game with the Indiana Fever. Darron Cummings/Associated Press

W.N.B.A. season openers: A once-in-a-generation group enters the W.N.B.A. next week. You may already know their names: Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Cameron Brink, Kamilla Cardoso. Their college matchups shattered viewership records, and their pro draft last month did the same. The W.N.B.A. is trying to seize the moment: Nearly all of Clark’s games with the Indiana Fever will be national broadcasts, and some of her games are moving to bigger arenas to meet fan demand.

The season begins Tuesday, as Clark and the Fever face the Connecticut Sun and M.V.P. contender Alyssa Thomas. After that, the two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces play Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury. 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2

More coverage

  • Clark and Cardoso are featured in a documentary series, “Full Court Press,” airing on ABC this weekend, which follows them through their final season of college.
  • The W.N.B.A. is expanding: The league plans to add a 13th team, in the San Francisco area, next season, and a 14th, in Toronto, the year after.


Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was uncloak.

Take the news quiz to see how well you followed this week’s headlines.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku, Connections and Strands.

Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times. — Melissa

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