The Sweet Smell of Travel

Cinnabon? Ticketing? A tough choice.

I only eat Cinnabon in airports.  And, whether I am hungry or not, I always eat Cinnabon in airports.  I realize that Cinnabons exist in other places, like mall food courts, but I only eat Cinnabon in airports.  

I think that Cinnabon is the smell of travel, if not also the taste of travel.  If you have walked by the enticing smell of the delicious cinnamoniness while pulling your carryon from A26 to B14, you can relate.  The sweet smell greets you first, so you look around for the source.  Then you spot it and you check your watch to be sure there is time.  Would I risk a missed connection for a Cinnabon?  I think so.  Even with a Cinnabon bag in one hand, pulling my carryon behind me, I can always run.  I consider myself a healthy eater, but we are all allowed an occasional indulgence, especially when it enhances the voyage.  I do not need the liter of beer in Munich or the pound of crawfish in New Orleans either, but I do not deny myself these privileges.  Cinnabon is an indulgence, which, as all indulgences, is absolutely unnecessary.  But the satisfaction of the unnecessary Cinnabon, much as the satisfaction of the unnecessary journey, is always worth it.  

I remember Cinnabon from airports.  Flying from Champaign, Illinois, we could connect in Dayton, St. Louis, Chicago, or Detroit.  I would book a flight through Detroit, which was (and I suppose still is) out of the way.  You see, I knew where the Cinnabon was at the old Detroit Metro Airport, and I would leave extra connecting time to stop for the gooey goodness.  You may laugh at me as you wish.  This story is about my wishes.  When I was older, I learned that Cinnabons could also be found in malls (for there was none in Champaign).  But I have never wanted to eat Cinnabon in those places.  Smelling Cinnabon in the mall does not make me hungry, it makes me want to book a trip.  It makes me want to forgive all of the inconvenience that was Detroit Metro just to go back in time and eat one more Cinnabon.  Of course, I will need a time machine, for there is no Cinnabon in Detroit’s new terminal.  There are any number of fast food restaurants, breakfast places, and dessert stands, but none is Cinnabon.  In all my travels, I never craved a cinnamon roll.  I craved a Cinnabon.

Just a year ago, my brother was flying from Florida to China, so he booked a flight connecting in Washington Dulles so I could drive out to the airport to visit with him before his 14-hour connecting flight.  During his layover, I sat with him beneath the soaring concrete palace in the main terminal, eating a Cinnabon and dispensing important brotherly advice, such as don’t buy drugs or women overseas.  He did not end up in Chinese jail, so I assume he took my advice.  I never asked.

The smell of Cinnabon is irresistible.  In the words of the travel detective Peter Greenberg, who tries to eat healthy while traveling, the smell of Cinnabon is “a weapon.”  So, in the words of Pat Benatar, “hit me with your best shot.”  I’ll be at the Cinnabon in the airport.  Stop and say hi.

I almost missed a flight to take this photo. And I didn’t have time to order a Cinnabon either!

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