Whenever I step foot in an airport as a traveller, I get the niggling feeling that I might like to write a book about them someday…I kind of enjoy hanging around at airports, can’t bring myself to complain (much) about those largely empty and uneventful hours spent in transit, on uncomfortable seats or hard floors or dusty carpets that make you cough when you get too close while doing some stretches to alleviate your aching butt and body. There is just something about airports that makes me feel … comfortable I guess, maybe even at peace. Possibly it is because everybody is on their best behaviour. Tolerance levels are increased during transit, because at the airport we all kinda have to get along. At the airport we are all the same – we are all travellers.
As travellers we all share the same odd dead time in transit where there is nothing much to do but eating, reading, chatting, watching movies or people, using free WiFi, walking around more or less aimlessly, enjoying the comfort of a normal toilet (unless you are stuck at an airport with squat toilets…) shopping (if you are into that…) and trying to nap. [Actually that’s quite a lot of things to do but we are in transit and likely tired and grumpy and not feeling like doing many (if any) of those things. Either way, airports only offer a limited range of really basic stuff to do.]
During transit we share the same space, the seats and toilets, we all hurry up and wait in numerous queues, go through the same security measures where we take off our belts, shoes and bulky jumpers, pack and unpack our hand luggage various times, have water bottles and toothpaste confiscated and put up our hands (in the air like we just don’t care) while we get body scanned. We all get confused, rushed and sometimes panicked while figuring out where to go next. And then we are all crammed into the same planes, where we are looked after by the same crew, eating the same food, sharing extremely limited space and air while flying across our home planet Earth, which we all share also.
Again and again it strikes me as an absolute marvel how this eclectic mix of cultural currents flows through the place. Gratitude lingers as I pick up strands of conversation in dozens of languages, sometimes familiar but mostly unintelligible (to me) and exotic.
The Solarpunkster sits, stands and walks around, constantly observing and taking in the different looks, styles of dress, sounds and vibes, quietly wishing that she had the means to find out everyone’s story.
At times I feel almost breathless – there are so many of us here, on our way to somewhere, and I wonder how many of us realise how incredibly fortunate we are to be part of the upper class (in a relative, global sense) that is able and allowed and rich enough to travel by plane…