I’m in the airport, and some odd instrumental version of Phantom of the Opera is playing over the loudspeakers. It’s kind of weird, but whatever. I don’t think that the Phantom is going to come through the windows behind me and teach me how to sing.
The loudspeaker tells me that someone’s forgotten their iPad, which is quite a shame. It keeps muttering over the bustle of the terminal in constant reminders, a disembodied Hermes, shuttling messages to forgetful mortals everywhere. Maria might miss her flight to Las Vegas if she doesn’t hurry.
Airports are always the most marvelous place to people-watch. I can’t think of a better one. Nobody stays in an airport. That’s not what it’s meant for. It’s inherently a locus of comings and goings, entrances and exits, a stage of life where no one stays for very long.
People become a single one of their features as they quickly pass: a bald head, a funny hat, velcroed shoes, an enormous book, a wedding band, a stroller, a designer handbag.
Final call, flight 1683.
It’s interesting to dream up stories here, watching the ebb and flow of humanity. Everyone is going somewhere, and each of the lines of each of their lives momentarily converge, mingle together, tangle and untangle, before separating to continue on with their own hopes, dreams, wants, needs, families, friends, jobs, studies.
I’ve tried to employ and improve my powers of deduction (what has Sherlock done to me?), but it hasn’t been hugely successful. She’s married? Well, considering her husband and two point five children, I probably could have guessed. Or, he’s left handed! …Useful.
After a failed attempt at conversation I managed to deduce that my cab driver was a Baptist, was orderly and careful but not anal, not very fond of his job, and a fan of R&B. All not very useful things. But I’m starting somewhere.
I should probably stop watching and start interacting sometime soon, but everyone’s pretty wrapped up in their phones, magazines, novels. I guess I’ve got my laptop, here, as well.
Maybe in a moment. But I just thought I’d stop and reflect on the interestingness of airports as a singularly liminal place and the sympathy and empathy they give me for the lives of others.