pre-emptive one hundred words for Friday

Hey all,
Because I’m going to be in transit for the next 12 hours, I was afraid I would forget to post the topic tomorrow morning. SO, in a preemptive strike on being forgetful, the topic for Friday’s 100 words will be (obviously): airports.

I’m curious to see what people come up with for such a “big” (read: airports are treasure troves for experiences to write about) topic in such a compressed form.

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10 Responses

  1. First I shed my jacket. Then I kick off my boots. My hat and scarf get a bin for themselves. My backpack can slide in on its own. My laptop comes out of the case, and I (very gently) place it pressed against the edge of a new gray bin, so that the sticky plastic ridges do not soil it while it slides along the conveyor belt. My bracelets of course, because copper sets off the metal detector. Then I chug my water, send the bottle through, and hold my ticket out so that I can enter the airport gate.

  2. At home, I have responsibility. I have a family, and I must live my life to fit around and to intertwine with other peoples’ lives. They live the same way. At college, I am completely selfish; I live only for me. I do what I want how I want, exactly when I feel like it. Airports are a little stickier. I’m not quite back in one world, and I’m not quite into another. A bit of responsibility – to call and say I’m safely there. Just a little. It’s really embarrassing how often I forget. It’s not because I don’t care.

  3. I love airports, in spite of the hassle, the bad food, the noise. They provide a counterpoint to my quiet Vermont life, steeped as it is in nature, a slow rural town and a small college. Within the mayhem of an international airport I am shaken awake, buffeted by humanity, by stories, by the possibilities of other lives and other journeys. I imagine relationships, dreams, destinations, troubles. By the time I get on my own flight I am worn out from watching and listening and wondering, and ready to slough off the baggage of so much life, so much story.

  4. Christmas Break 2007. It’s 1:12 PM and I’m stuck in the Burlington airport trying to fly 2,000+ miles back to Washington. The only thing I thought to buy was pretzels before checking myself through the metal detector. Hence, I’m mother-fucking hungry, and the flight attendant picks this exact moment to radio out: All passengers on Flight 148 to New York, your flight will be delayed due to weather conditions.

    The Jamaican synth version of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer starts to grate on my brain as I try to remain cool. Cool like ice and Santa and runways in the snow.

  5. I have an airport face. It tries to convey empathy with everyone’s frustration while also expressing my own “patience” (I put that in quotes because sometimes I feel very impatient… but I have sworn a personal oath that I will never be a “difficult” person) with any situation. Five-hour delay? I’m cool. Forty-five minute wait for a pesto turkey sandwich with antique lettuce? No worries. Airports allow us to temporarily shed our everyday pretenses and be anyone we want. But they also allow us to let other people inhabit any story we want for them. It’s a mutual fantasy.

  6. My favorite part about airports is the opportunity for me to listen to my ipod while having actually nothing to do but maybe read a book or flip through a magazine. When your flight is late it can be extremely inconvenient or irritating. But if you think about it when your flight is delayed its like someone just said, hey! you have two hours of time to just completely waste….I think that can be kind of a great thing. You can’t go anywhere. You usually can’t even leave your terminal. Its like you are held hostage to your new found free time.

  7. Home can be identified in three steps.

    1) Get off airplane.

    2) Trudge around airport.

    3) Go through turbo-fast immigration.

    Easy.

    Except not really. My patience is always tested at airports. For some absurd reason, I always pick the slowest immigration queue when I’m at step three — the one with the daydreaming official, the one with the family of six who can’t find their passports, the one with the couple that oops, forgot they needed visas. And by then I’m so bored that I know I can’t be on vacation, and realize, to my horror, that this must be home.

  8. Sitting on a park bench. Actually, sitting on a metal chair coated in warmed, thin leather. It is weathered, softened, and fluffy – covering the shiny bars that sit beneath. Stationary, it can’t move – stuck – I must move my body to conform to what is not comfortable. Create. I want to make something relaxing. My stomach turns, and I can taste airplane in my mouth. The gasoline is too pure and the food is too old. You can taste the microwave and the food flavor seeping into the beads of water coating the clear plastic – sinking into the food, making mush.

  9. An hour late, we arrive. A mile away, the next
    gate stands. I plow through the aisle and
    people jump into the laps of flight attendants.
    O’Hare is an enormous ‘H’ and I am at the bottom left foot, my plane at the upper right. In a dance of airport chaos, I navigate the moving walkway through a tunnel of psychedelic neon lights more fit for a rave. Isprint up 147 steps to avoid the escalator and run pell-mell
    to the giant grey door she swings forward. WAIT!
    I stick to my seat as we rumble down the runway.

  10. Departures and arrivals. Late flights, early landings, missed connectors, lost luggage, jet lag, layovers, delayed departures. Destination unknown. Greetings and good-byes mix together. A time for tears – of sadness and joy. Connecting completely different worlds, all together in one building. It’s a weird concept when you take the time to stand back and observe, rather than take part in your own reunion of some sort. Kids home from college, relatives arriving for a funeral, families brought together for the holidays, students submerging themselves into new cultures, troops returning to their loved ones. The range of emotions goes on forever…

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