airport.

Friday, 2/3:

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.

Final call.

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Although most of my break has been spent reading, seeing friends, and watching entirely too much British TV, I haven’t been completely unproductive.  I’ve uploaded some of my photos from various trips or just everyday life.  Take a look?  🙂

https://theparadigmshifts.wordpress.com/photos/

Thanks, guys.

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monet

Last Friday, I spent a good five hours in an art museum, and it was beautiful. Fantastic. My goal was to find somewhere to “study” (and I did do some work in the café/ impressionist portraiture room), but the works in the museum were amazing as well. I was going to go back today, too, but the rain that had been threatening all morning finally arrived in all its dreary glory, and walking thirty minutes in the rain sans umbrella didn’t seem like the best idea.  So about an hour of Mock the Week later (funniest things…), I’m still indoors… Back to art.

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Anyway, I was privileged enough to see a triptych of Monet’s water lilies and ended up sitting in front of them for a good, solid hour.  Just looking, and then writing:

At first, I couldn’t really tell if I was impressed by the art or the artists’ names – by my own judgment or the opinions of others.

But this… this is strange.

I’m sitting in front of Monet’s Agapanthus, and the longer I look, the more amazed I become.  The colors, the strokes, the size… and suddenly, I have an enormous lump in my throat, and I’m astounded and a little confused.  I don’t know what it is.  But in this moment, I am dwarfed by the painting and his artistry.

It feels wrong to do work here.  I was thinking about it… but no.  This… the thing about art is that it preserves a tiny piece of that person who created it for everyone else to see and observe.  Looking at these pieces made by long-dead hands, I feel somehow connected to these men of different cultures and eras.  When I saw that van Gogh made those paintings right before his suicide, I couldn’t help but be moved.  That poor, dear, underappreciated man.  But he left behind a part of himself- a piece of his soul­- for us to know him.

And almost as interesting (if not as interesting) as the art are the people around me looking as well.  Passing through, changing, milling about.  Since I’ve been sitting in front of this work, the room has already changed almost entirely several times.

There are a lot of couples who seem interested, or are trying to be.  Some listening to the guided tours.  Several elderly folks who truly appreciate this beauty – more than I do, I know.  One solitary old man who looks like he’s stepped straight out of the impressionist era minus the straw hat.

And the ones who just stop and stare, smile, gasp, point, trace with a finger in the air the curves of the art to their children, their other, themselves.  I’m witnessing the power of this dead paint to move someone.  Of course it’s not the paint, but a capturing and reflection of the soul who placed it there.

There’s still a lump in my throat.

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Read this“For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them.”  ~John Milton.
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