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  • When I was a grad student in Santa Barbara, living the fledgling academic life, I would have reason to fly to the mid-west or east coast three or four times a year, a conference in New York or Boston, a class at Indiana, a research trip to DC. Santa Barbara has a small airport, but lots of money, so almost all carriers fly there. Since almost all these trips were paid for by someone else, I almost exclusively flew United, even got me a United credit card, and began to collect the miles.

    Flying out of Santa Barbara, I would make my connections sometimes in LA, but mostly in Denver. The first time I flew into Denver, that was actually my destination, a conference in Boulder. But that would be the only time I would ever leave the airport. Over time, I got to know that airport, and looked forward to my stopovers there. A major bonus was the airport had a smoking section. You go to the center mall area of the terminal, up on the second floor off by itself, is a bar where people can smoke! I would get off the plane, see how much time I had, head straight for the bar, order a drink and light a smoke. I would sit in the airport lounge and drink and smoke and read The Economist (I used to always have a copy of The Economist whenever I flew) and enjoy the feeling of traveling. Indeed, I was getting paid to travel, which was the goal all along.

    Depending on the time, after a drink or two I would wander through the terminal shops, checking out the snow globes, seeing if there were any new ones. I eventually bought (?) nearly everyone they had, but this one is the best.

    I don’t live in Santa Barbara anymore, so a few years have passed since I have flown through Denver. I miss it.
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