One of the first times I traveled with HA and we had a layover in an airport, she suggested we use the coin-operated massage chairs. I was surprised. For one, she is a massage therapist extraordinaire and I assumed that she would disdain soulless, mechanical massage. Second, I had always thought of the machines as being a waste of cash. I tried it, though, and I found the experience to be enjoyable (not transcendent, as one of her massages would have been) and worth the $5 for twenty minutes of distraction from the noxious environment of the airport.

Today I had an insight. When I’m stuck in an airport, I tend to buy snacks or a meal or even alcohol (though I don’t enjoy being tipsy when I’m traveling). These are also overpriced distractions and more expensive than a 20 minute, $5 “massage” in a vibrating chair. Worse, the overpriced food generally isn’t very good, often leaves me feeling less than healthy, and has a deleterious effect on my prone-to-expansion waistline.

I used to engage in a variation of this back before ubiquitous airport WiFi and mobile phone hotspots, when there was a company whose name I have forgotten but whose slogan was “peace, quiet, and a T-1 line.” They’d rent you a soundproofed booth with a comfortable chair, desk, power plug, and an Ethernet connection to that blazingly-fast (about 1.5 Mbps, shared) T-1 internet connection.

So today I went ahead and plunked down $5 for a shaking chair in the Kahului airport. It was worth it.


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