Tag Archives: airports

the captain has turned on the think for yourself sign, please remain present with your intellect securely fastened

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i’m lost this morning, trying to find a simple and novel idea for arranging a few hundred words. my head is thick with morning fog and a packing list. i wish i could wait and leisurely stroll through some words in a few hours when i’m less pressed and of wider eyes. but in a couple of those hours, i should be talking to an airport bloody mary and prepping for a midday miami flight. i suppose i could be so savvy as to post from airport bars and hot spots, but i have a romantic relationship with remaining somewhat unplugged during transit. it’s a stretch for me to listen to my ipod on a plane anymore…only because i romantically hold on to the “out of pocket” notion previously associated with airline travel. my ipod usually just makes the cut, harkening back to romantic days spent snuggling my sports walkman and its boatloads of extra batteries.

how long ago did they start to allow wireless connections on flights? how long ago did the ubiquitous charging station begin to¬†ensure we had little or no excuse to fall out of touch? the only reason i carry my laptop with me on a flight is because i don’t want it totaled in my checked luggage…i’ve never pulled it out in the air. when i fly, i write in paper journals, keep wireless switches not just off but out of sight and save my online work for later. i only read what i can wrap my little fingers around in my anachronistic ink-on-paper fantasy world.

but today, i could write a post, i suppose…observations of american tourist(er)s, jots of jokes, perceptions, ponderings…i could type away at pontifications on the noises, scents and breaths all around me…but once i embrace electrons there, in transit, i lose all my excuses for, among other things, why i will be working a less exciting assignment in my hotel room tonight instead of submitting it from american airspace today.

soon there will be no tunnel of time-to-myself, no mountain(s out of) range, no awkward passenger glances in 30 torturous seconds of elevator silence, no TSA or FAA or common decency rules regarding appropriate public communication levels and/or methods…even the “i was driving” excuse will someday fade. all of it will go the way of the busy signal, the endless no-one-is-home-ring, the answering machine, the “i couldn’t hear you yelling, mom” excuse…the best we’ve got now is, “funny, i didn’t get your voicemail until just now! i don’t know what’s wrong with my phone!” i pray that crossed communications never completely disappear. i hope that technology only gets so good at invasive contact. i hope that people will keep their expectations for instant, invasive contact at bay, while keeping with them an expectation of occasional privacy and sequestered personal time. i hope we remember to stay in our own shoes, pick up our heads and look around at what’s happening in our moment, in our worldview, in our ears, hearts and minds…i hope we remember to stop wondering what people we know are up to right this second and check out what the people we don’t know are doing right around us.

i sound like such a nostalgic dinosaur about all of this. perhaps this is the generational disease about which i will gripe and that i will treat with consternation, perturbation and the GenX equivalent of something my grandmother called liniment. oh my achin’ sentiments. we’ll see when the part of me that’s tempted always to play in this e-world overrides the part of me trying to hold on to romantic notions of unplugged solitude and delayed communications gratification.

meanwhile…i’m sure i’ll check this blog page once or twice from an airport bar seat…and my gmail account…and facebook…that’s the tempted part of me…unless i find an actual breathing human with which to dissect this trend or the MLB postseason…or pick up a gripping novel…or find a gripping, fluffy magazine through which to rifle…or some inspiration for poetry penned in blue ink, not a font…or a charging station seat and a few good tracks on my ipod. regardless, i’m off to the romantic world inside my head and suitcases for a while. i apologize in advance if you end up in my voicemail today…and one more time if i don’t return your calls or texts until friday, all while incredulously complaining about the undependability of even the smartest smartphone, and secretly lauding its ability to cover mine.

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oh crap…is that del griffith at the ticket counter?

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this morning i await a weekend full of laughs, gaffs, pains, gains and rains (probably no trains). i woke so ready for this to be a friday. i’ve made more travel arrangements in 24 hours than i have in the last year, and i’m excited to get back on the road. i love to travel…not in that dating profile “love to travel” way that comes just before “anything outdoors” or “laid back” in the Top 10 Most Over-used Bullshit Phrases in Online Dating list. i love to travel…in that way where i do it all the time and i still love it…even given the airports, lost luggage, traffic and hotel housekeepers with blindspots at the keyhole level, right where the Do Not Disturb sign lives. i’ve noticed lately that many hotels have gone with clever, softer text for their signs like, “There is a Really Good Reason Not to Knock on this Door” or “Maybe Later?” or “There’s someone naked in here.” they even use DND signs that go right in the keycard slot used to interrupt your sleep or fun or nudity. i thought all of that was an attempt to mix it up for the hotel staff…anything to draw some attention to that sign…anything to jolt them from that catatonic march, before the robotic knock and key card entry…but i think they must do simulation training where they practice ignoring signs and dispassionately dismissing audible objections…like training soldiers not flinch or spill it in an interrogation room.

i’ll need a new book for the road. i like trying to read David Sedaris on long flights, though i don’t generally recommend it. his work exercises several muscles for me, more muscles in public than private. in both public and private settings, his essays work my belly, sarcasm and parody muscles. in public, i get the opportunity to work isometrically…extending and holding, quivering just between “cheerfully entertained” and “my lunacy is no longer disguisable.” perhaps i’ll find his latest and test my fit-for-public-consumption-ness…or at least see how hard i can laugh my ass off without being removed from the plane.

we all have war stories and jokes from the road…if you’ve traveled once, you have one. if you’ve traveled with a kid one time, you’ve got a whole battalion’s worth. i think most comedians devolve at some point into travel humor. i mean, we write about what we know, right? we joke about what we know…we have to laugh about what we’ve come to know or go insane from the inane.

so as i read and fly and rent, and soak in after-work jacuzzis and drinks, i will also observe, chat, collect and write about what i know…which amounts to a lot about places and people i don’t know very well. a stranger in a strange land, alone in a crowd of thousands…i love it there, that space, where i’m just me and no one has a clue what to expect. i love to surprise people with compassion and friendliness, random eye contact and smiles…sometimes even a conversation and a courtesy drink at the airport or hotel bar. i love to fade into the walls with a journal and bland countenance. i love to walk amid oblivious faces noting their expressions of wonder, frustration, exasperation, anticipation and disorientation. i love to surreptitiously pick up pieces of conversation…again trying to hide the humorous or maniacal laughter they sometimes inspire. and i love an airport bloody mary.

a few more days at the homestead before the first leg, after which i’ll see my house long enough to do laundry, pet a cat and smile at the neighbors once before heading back out. i asked the Universe what the hell was going to inspire me at work again…get my heart back in it for as long as my paycheck is in it…and so it is delivered. bear with me, cheer me on, i hope to write and post as though i’m right here on my tan couch in my “library” (aka living room, my “hemingway room,” “kerouac study” “home office”…i have a dramatic and romantic relationship with this ergonomically disastrous work space).

thank you my gentle reader for any Godspeed you can wish, St Christopher prayers you can say, any thoughts of mine you follow…may the road rise up to meet us both.