Meditations on a one-way ticket

I now have a one-way ticket to Beijing sitting on my desk. The symbolism of this object is pretty obvious: I am going somewhere and staying there. This is not a short trip, I will not be a tourist, I am relocating.

This is the first time in my life that I have purchased a one-way ticket, and I wonder how many people ever do in their lives. I suppose most Americans, who do tend to move from one place to another within the country, drive to their new homes and so never buy a one-way ticket.

The process of purchasing this ticket was anything but straightforward. It seems many people are planning to fly to Beijing the same weekend I am. When I first investigated flights a few weeks ago (before it was practical to buy), there were lots of options at convenient times, but by last Friday, things were getting thin. I clicked on "book now" and got an error message. The message said to try again later or try calling on the phone to book. I waited till the next morning, tried the website one more time, then called an agent. The only flights left available were on Air China, and Air China's web connection was having problems. The agent tried all sorts of different possibilities on three different days, and reported that the flight I had originally picked was completely booked up, as were most of the others. I ended up with my third choice of departure dates.

Anyway, I'm booked now, and the end result is the same as if I had got the day I wanted. I'll be in Beijing. And some day, a couple years from now, I'll buy a one-way ticket back home.

Ending music: None (just finished watching the season premiere of Lost).

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