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I was sitting in the Alaska Airlines lounge at SeaTac the other day. I had about 4 hours to kill between flights and while I’m not a member of the club or anything even remotely resembling a frequent flyer these days, I sucked up the $45 daily fee Alaska charges the general public and went in. It’s a nice lounge. 2 levels. Lots of big windows. All you can eat food and drinks. Airplanes taking off against the snow-covered Puget Sound mountains to the west. Very nice.

Now while I probably appeared pretty cool, calm and collected on the outside, standing there at the front counter paying my fee and checking my flight status, I could feel myself tightening up a little and becoming a bit stiffer than I’d been seconds earlier strolling freely down the airport concourse. I wasn’t as articulate as I normally am either, and for a second, I struggled to ask the woman behind the counter a very simple question about flight announcements. The words …

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