I am writing this from an airplane headed for Chicago. Actually our final destination is Cleveland, Ohio, but we are switching planes in Chicago. I’ll be visiting two colleges, Kenyon and Oberlin, and I thought it would be interesting to document the people and places that I encounter. So, I guess think of this series as one long “From a Writer’s Notebook” post. I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures!
This morning my parents dragged me out of bed at 3:45 am. I had a bagel and iced chia tea for breakfast, and then it was out the door and off to the airport. I find airports fascinating, especially when you are there early in the morning or late at night. You can always tell who’s having a bad day, who didn’t get enough sleep the night before (seems like that applies to everyone these days), who’s traveling for business, sporting events, musical gigs, or just for fun. Even with the constant activity, airports have always seemed like large, lonely places to me. Everyone’s detached, all of them going separate ways. I like to imagine them completely empty: no security, no coffee/gift shop employees, no bag checkers, flight attendants, maintenance workers, or passengers. With people, airports are really just buildings you walk through to get from one place to the next. Without people, they are just empty shells with only a vague memory that anyone passed through at all.
This morning however, the airport was crowded with interesting people. A few of the characters I saw were:
- A twenty-something who was dressed in a sweater, black skinny jeans, and leather boots. She was carrying a broad rimmed black hat, and a vintage leather bag. Her hair was done up in a cylinder-like shape on the top of her head, and she had an air that said, “I’m anything but mainstream.”
- A middle aged man in a white v-neck and khaki shorts, with a gold chain around his neck. He was talking on his phone and I overheard him say, “If I get a chance to go to the LAX candy store, what did Sarah say she wanted? I’ve already forgotten.”
- A mom with two bright pink suitcases, a pink outfit, and a little girl dressed in pink, too.
- An Asian woman boarding the plane with a musical instrument case under her arm.
When our plane took off it was 6am, and the world was still dark. We rose above Houston and the lights stretched out beneath us like stars. Now it’s almost 8 o’ clock, the sun is up, and according to the pilot we’ll be landing in Chicago shortly.