AA 860

In networking we refer to “the last mile” as the most difficult, time-consuming, expensive bit of the journey. I am waiting on a plane that has just traveled 2,000 miles across the continent. We are stuck here on the tarmac because our gate is occupied. I could get out and walk!


“Ladies and gentlemen, our ten minute wait has come and gone, and the aircraft at the gate has called for maintenance. We know there are people making connections from this aircraft and if it looks like the wait will go too long they’ll get us another gate.”

“Why don’t they just get us another gate?”

“We now have a new arrival gate: gate kilo-1. Well be starting that way shortly.”

Anyway, we call it “the last mile” because for the most part, long-haul network routes are like air travel, which moves pretty well between the hubs. It is getting from the local phone company “central office” through the copper wires on the telephone poles and neighborhood junction boxes that sometimes calls for improvisation and creativity.

We are headed toward the gate . . . but now we are stuck again, waiting on the new gate to be readied. However, the engines just started whirring and we are again rolling so . . . I should be at Grandma’s house for Christmas very soon now!

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Chicago. Please enjoy the holidays . . .”


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