So, here I am at gate C-36, waiting for a Jet Blue flight to New York to meet with my publisher. People who know me well will tell you that I generally hate to travel. I like being places and seeing people, so all you readers out there working on bringing me there should't despair, but I hate planning trips. I dislike packing, driving, and that moment at the end of a flight when everyone stands up even though the doors aren't open yet and there is nowhere to go.
But here's a funny twist: I like airports. Except for extreme situations (such as 30 hours in Detroit, after a cancelled last-flight-of-the-night), airports can be kind of fun.
I fly often enough to know the drill about how to check in, what to pack, what can be carried on, and how to arrange bags so what I need during the flight isn't stuck in the overhead bin where I have to crawl over other passengers to get it. Concerns about civil liberties and foot-borne diseases aside (they make you wear flip-flops in dorm bathrooms to prevent the spread of disease... I'm not a gemophobe by any stretch of the imagination, but how often do they bleach that security area where everyone has to take off their shoes?) security isn't usually too bad.
When I used to tour more often, I had some exciting security stories. Apparently, a series of one-way tickets purchased at the last minute by a third party raise those "random" security flags - go figure. In Kalamazoo, MI ("yes, we do exist!") they took every single item out of our carry-on, went through it, and the told us, "you can repack and board the plane now" as if they hadn't just totally unpacked two suitcases that my mother and I had needed to stand on to close that morning. That was October, 2011, though, so people were pretty cautious.
Back to why I like airports.
For one, I love people-watching. Little kids and business men, that frazzled-looking school-teacher type I always seem to meet, old men who look tired and lonely, college students, families speaking in languages I cannot identify never-mind understand, an angry grump on a cell phone... So many interesting people. I've had friendly conversations with all sorts of people in airports. Once when I had a flight connection get messed up, I was befriended by a pair of Franciscan (Dominican?) priests (monks? I'm not sure of my terminology here).
Now there's a guy talking photographs of the terminal... No, not photos plural. He has been sitting across from me for a while, but he just randomly stood up, took one picture of the gate, and then sat back down to continue watching the weather. Why? No idea, but I could make something up, and it would be a great story.
As my current protagonist Jay would say, airports are full of people totally engaged in their own lives. In more my own words, people in airports are in the middle of their stories. Some might be near the end, heading home at the end of a whirlwind, but the pages are still turning.
And that's why I like airports.
Signing off of Logan's free wi-fi so I can board my plane now. Take care, everyone; I'll be home soon.