Dear readers, I am writing to you from a terrible flight. First, I had an abominable day yesterday. Probably the second worst day of 2013 that left me sobbing in the shower for an hour.

Then, for today, I finally cashed in some of my USAirways Dividend miles for a flight from Philadelphia to Chicago. In return, USAirways gave me a ticket that put me on the plane in the last boarding group. Person after person with rolling bags got on before me – including a woman with two! – and then, just as I was about to get on the plane, a USAirways employee grabbed my bag and took it from me. When I then took the ticket from her hand, she made a nasty comment about me, in front of a crowd of people. Apparently she thought I couldn’t hear her because I was wearing headphones. But no. I heard her, loud and clear. As did everyone else.

So then I get packed onto the flight, and a person is in my seat. After much shifting around, I finally sit, and the woman next to me promptly takes over the arm rest and puts her arm into my “space.” We taxi. And then stop. And sit on the runway. In a hot plane. For an hour. We are now airborne, and seat hogger just coughed into my coffee, and is clearing her throat every 30 seconds or so.

What does that have to do with Courtney Milan’s 

? It is the only thing that kept me sane through that ordeal. Because before that USAirways employee yanked the bag from my hand, and then made fun of me in front of a crowd of people, I was reading a delightful romance novel. Then after, as the woman shoved her elbow into my arm, I was reading a delightful romance novel. As I sat on the hot plane, sweating, and before and after emailing my Very Important Client in Chicago about being later for our meeting, I could read that very delightful romance novel. And then, after takeoff, and before I logged on here, I read the happy ending.

I could tell you more about the book, but I’ll just direct you here. So what I’ll say is this: This is why I read romance novels sometimes. Because life really sucks sometimes. And these books take you away to another place where you know the guy will get the girl, or vice versa. It’s not really about the smut. It’s about picking up a book where you already know everyone is happy at the end.

That’s not how life always looks, but I try to stay positive. I’m not a “glass half empty” or “glass half full” person, but instead a “who drank out of my glass” kind of gal. Reading these kinds of books balances me out sometimes. Even when this lady’s elbow is just about nestled into my hip.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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