March 12 2017 – unexpected time-to-spare in the airport. One of my students might be doing research on how “community” is structured or formed in liminal spaces. They are particularly interested in airports. And it’s a question certainly worth exploring because airports are such interesting places–they have to accommodate a lot of rapid/frantic/nervous movement while also offering spaces of rest and gathering. In this way they’re like malls, but with the primary goal shifted from prompting consumerism to facilitating travel, though there are consumer spaces and processes that govern the airport. [I’m particularly annoyed today by the fact that programs like TSA precheck exist to make it possible for people with more money to go through security processes faster; why should wealth be able to grease people’s way through the system?]
Some of you may need to know that there is now a premium donut shop in the airport. Nuff said. I have also seen people asleep in corners or slumped down in the (not that comfortable) arm chairs. Some occupied by computers in areas designated as “business centers.” Most, though, are walking briskly, determinedly, towards their gate towards the baggage claim towards their car towards the light rail towards somewhere.
you’re hugging your bag to you as if it contains your whole life.
you walk with joy in every step; in your head you are whistling.
you don’t smile and maybe you are calculating costs and challenges.
you turn your phone towards me, showing me your Skype caller,
but I fail to wave quickly enough.
you sleep hard and deep through the clatter of moving walkways and suitcase wheels.
you wear sandals and a shawl and I hope you are going somewhere warm.
you bend your head to your phone furiously typing, perhaps poems.
you scramble to hold bag and pull luggage and balance coffee,
I hold my breath to jump up just in case, but no need.
you search the monitor for your airplane and gate, staying a moment too long.
you wait in the long line for coffee, aching to wake up.
your daughter in pajamas, twirling instead of walking, greets me.
you look up from your phone and you smile as if you know me,
I return your smile. If we had more time we’d be friends. Instead
we all go on our ways.