The nature of my work dictates that I travel a lot, and I will often find myself on two- and three-hour layovers in different cities. This means that I don’t quite have enough time to go sight-seeing, but sitting in an airport for that long is mind-numbing.
I have found that one of the best ways to pass the time on these occasions is to play card games, and not just because it makes the time go by quicker.
One of the best things about cards is that they are small and easy to carry around. I always bring them with me on business trips or when I am visiting relatives, and if I don’t have the opportunity to play card games with anyone else, I can always play Solitaire.
Most of the time, however, I will strike up a conversation with another person that looks bored out of his mind and ask if he wants to play some cards. It may sound funny, but I have made three very good friends this way, all of whom live in different cities. We still correspond by e-mail practically every week, and it all started by playing card games in an airport.
Another good thing about cards is that there are a number of card games you can play. The games that I almost always suggest are Five Card Draw or Gin Rummy, but I have learned how to play Bridge, Canasta and Pinochle, all from my encounters playing card games at airports.
I have also been on trips with my wife and kids, and when my kids start to get restless, I will pass them the deck and tell them to play card games while we wait. Typically, that will occupy them the entire time we are waiting, and it gives us some peace and quiet.
The interesting thing about it for me is that I was not the one who discovered how handy a deck of cards can be. It was an older gentleman that I met while on a layover in Chicago. He approached me and told me how much he hated to wait, and I agreed with him, and then he asked if I had any interest in playing some cards.
At first, I wondered if he was hustler or something, but I could tell by the smile on his face that he did not want to play for any money, just for conversation and to pass the time while we waited.
I borrowed his idea, and now I will not travel without a deck of cards. I realize that there are probably a lot of other travelers who play card games while they are waiting, but I am not sure if those people are aware of all the benefits they bring.