Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Sorry about the brief pause in the action there y'all. A little bit of life got in the way.

Which is why I'm sitting in an airport typing this.

I like airports. I like going new places and seeing new stuff and geeking around at people and their action. The sense of business and direction, and being on a path toward something is really exhilarating. Good airports are neat places to spend some time - the shops and the restaurants, the large clean spaces that house art or atria, the resonant announcements of flights from here to there and back again. I like watching the neatly dressed airline employees briskly moving along with their rolling bags, the families coming back from vacation with pink noses and a sense of fresh adventure about them, the world travellers with their slouchy bags slung across shoulders and barely-kempt hair and clothes....

They're all GOING somewhere.

Heathrow is an excellent airport. I've never heard more languages spoken all at one time than in the giagantic lobby area of that airport. It's an amazing place. Too bad I didn't spend more time in the neat part, because wow, once you start in toward your gate, all the glamour drops like a flash-frozen turkey, and you're in the mid-60's hallway of terror and futility. My trip to the gate at Heathrow took approximately way too long to walk, and the surroundings of the twisty maze-like halls didn't enhance the trudge. It was an amazing transformation. Also, there are no hot dog carts at the gates at Heathrow. There was a foot cart person, with strange little wraps and bottles of water, but that was it. Amazing.

Cincinnati has a nice airport. Detroit is kinda amazing, and if you like hiking there's every opportunity to take advantage of that avocation inside terminal A. Raleigh's airport is kinda not so much, but they're building a new terminal for which I have high hopes. The new National Aiport (Oops, Reagan National Airport) in DC is cool, and a huge improvement over what was there. Dulles needs work. Atlanta is a little scary what with the BIGNESS of it.

Good or bad or mediocre though the places may be, there are still going to be all those people going places, either home or not-home. The business people with their ear-phones and well-coiffed hair, the old folks in wheelchairs and bright jogging suits, the young families with babies in carriers and excitable toddlers, the young adults with wide eyes and barely-concealed excitement, all of them are there, all the time, a perfect cross-section of humanity.

My theory is that they're all on happy errands. Happy to be where they're been, happy to be where they're going, letting their recent or future travel coast with them as they move toward their destination. Airports are such cool places, it would be a shame to think of sadness in them.

I used to think that being a flight attendant would be a really cool job, but really, when you think of the realities of it I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be. For one thing, you'd get sick to death of all those daggone passengers getting in the way of all you fun, wouldn't you? I would. For another thing, you'd HAVE to spend all you time in airports and in airplanes and hotels, and that would take a lot of the fun out of the whole exercise. I prefer being a little excited still at at the prospect of travel, to maintain a tiny touch of the exotic about it. Going places would pretty much stop being fun if you HAD to do it.

So, as I sit in this airport and listen to a telecon and write to you, I think of all the people passing me by, and wonder where they're going, and hope their travels are happy ones.

Thus far, I haven't seen one sad face. I think my theory might be a good one.

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