Airports

I like airports.

Let me rephrase that…I like being in airports alone.

For two reasons.

1) Being in an airport is about waiting. I generally hate waiting. I am an impatient person. But the purpose of being in an airport is to wait, helplessly for your flight to take off, your layover to be finished, your next flight to board, your bags to arrive. When I am with other people I get focused on worrying about them, whether they will be late or the flight will be delayed, whether they are happy or I feel like I should be entertaining my kids. But when I am in an airport alone there is no one to entertain, no house to clean or laundry to fold, no responsibilities to focus on. I just read. I read an entire book on my last flight…non-stop…I just read it. I was fully present.  The book was pretty mediocre. I left it on the second plane and started another one. But the act of reading it was lovely. I sat there without a care in the world and read a book from cover to cover.

2) I also really enjoy people watching and I think airports provide the very best people watching in the world. People from all over the world, in groups and traveling alone. People forget themselves in airports, they get very real…and I love observing them and trying to figure them out. I am not a chit chatter in airports. Nope, I rarely speak to anyone. But I watch. On my flight I observed:

The greasy haired beautiful girl: She was traveling alone. She was beautiful. A classic beauty. In great shape, strong bone structure. But she had the greasiest hair I have seen in a long time. It was blonde but the highlights had grown out by at least four inches and the roots were really black. And that hair was disgustingly greasy, I mean the kind of hair that hasn’t been washed in at least a week or more. Why was her hair so greasy? Why? I suppose it might have been strange if I had asked her. So I decided someone she loved had died recently or her heart had been broken and washing her hair just wasn’t a priority. She didn’t care about her hair. Suddenly, I didn’t care either. I liked her from a distance. I admired her nasty, greasy hair. I wished my hair was that greasy.

Just kidding. That’s gross.

I also observed:

The Flight Attendant on the Phone: She was in the same row as me during my first flight. She was wearing her uniform and when I got on the plane she was on her phone, intently having a very deep conversation. I could hear every word. Folks…when you are on the phone in a public place, your conversation is no longer private. And this gal…she was having a very private conversation. I kept wondering if she was aware that I could hear her. I kept trying to block out her voice. I tried to focus on my book but every so often the extremely private nature of her conversation would burst through my brain and I would think:

“Girl you should really keep that conversation on the down low. Cause you are wearing your Delta flight attendant name tag.”

I wondered if the person on the other end of the phone knew she was on a plane. I wonder if they would have cared. I would have.

For the record, she kept talking long after we were told to put all electronic devices away…right through the safety information. Then she hung up. And when we landed, she was right back on that conversation while we taxied to the gate. Wow…that very private conversation needed to be had. Right there, in front of me.

I’m still blushing from the ordeal.

Bet you wanna know what she was saying, huh?

During my layover I watched:

The business man who never stops working: There were actually lots of these folks…entire office spread out before them which really just consists of a laptop and cell phone, complete digital office. He shifted from laptop to phone to laptop to phone. He made calls, he checked emails. Then he called his wife, told her what time he would be home, said a seemingly heartfelt I love you and shifted right back into business man mode. I wondered what it would be like to be so important. It’s likely I won’t find out in this lifetime.

A business lady I ain’t.

(cause I say things like: A business lady I ain’t)

And finally I watched the older couple traveling to Copenhagen. Their passports were flagged for reinspection as I boarded my second flight. Actually only her passport was flagged. It took a really long time for her dig through her Vera Bradley carry on duffle to find it. He helped, the husband. That’s how I found out they were going to Copenhagen. They talked nervously as they searched for the right pocket that contained the passports. They were overwhelmed by being flagged but not angry about it. They were relaxed. They seemed happy. And I wondered if they had been married 40 years and had 6 grandkids. I felt slightly jealous that they had made it this far into life and still seemed happy together. I want that, love that lasts. I needed to be reminded that it can. I’ve forgotten that lately…in my love is stupid post divorce state of mind.

For all I know they met six months ago and had both gone through nasty divorces at some point in their lives. But I liked the idea that they had been married since high school and were still desperately in love….maybe not passionate but genuinely devoted to one another.

That’s the best part about people watching, you can invent whatever you want to about the people you observe.

I made it to my destination. It’s a very fast trip. I am headed home in a few hours. Back to the airport.

I can’t wait to read my second book, to watch more people.

And then to walk through the terminal exit and see all the happy reunions.

Like in the movie Love Actually, the hello’s and goodbye’s at airports are amazing to watch but I try not to stare.

Cause it’s so personal and a little creepy to interfere in those private moments.

I will just watch out of the corner of my eye as I walk to my car alone.

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