I love airports. While the actual act of flying has become routine and downright boring, airports continue to fascinate me. Over the last seventeen months airports have become second nature to me. Not all airports, but YYC, YVR, YYZ, and ORD are starting to feel like old friends. I have become familiar with the layouts and I have developed my own routines for each of them. Where to eat, which washrooms to use, and where the power outlets are hidden. I swear I could navigate my way to and from Chicago in my sleep which, having just caught the red eye from Calgary to Toronto, I think I just proved
My own relationship with airports is less interesting to me than the relationships others have with them. I love watching people and how they handle the act of flying. Why do some women insist on wearing long boots with tons of laces, knowing they’re going to have to go through a ton of work at the security line up taking them off and putting them back on? Why do business travelers act surprised when they are asked to remove their laptops from their bags? Why do some people seem oblivious to the long line of people in the aisle as they take forever to stow their carry on bag and take their seat? And, my personal favorite, the person with the aisle seat who immediately does up his seatbelt and then is annoyed when he has to undo it to get up and let the other two people into the middle and window seats?
I enjoy watching other travelers and thinking about their stories. Is that family taking their first vacation together in years, having worked hard to save the money for tickets? Is that person flying back to her hometown to deal with the death of a loved one? Is that couple who just can’t keep their hands off each other on their honeymoon — or perhaps even eloping? Is that business person making his way back home to a family that has been missing him the last few weeks, or is he on his way to another meeting in some downtown skyscraper?
I love how the airport is always on the move. Even when waiting in line, there is always a sense of urgency, especially coming from the couple who didn’t leave home early enough and are now worried about missing their boarding call. I love the excitement that comes from seeing your bag come into view on the carrousel, knowing it means you made it one more flight without the airline losing it. Admit it, until it comes into sight you always have a little nagging doubt, don’t you?
I love watching the tearful goodbyes and then joyous reunions that take place constantly airports. I could certainly handle not having to participate in those goodbyes though. Everyone in the airport has a story, a reason for being there. My own story is just one of the thousands. I wonder what my fellow passengers waiting for American Eagle flight 2785 are thinking about me.