Thursday, May 24, 2012

A gateway to anywhere

I truly love airports, despite the fact that admitting this generally makes people question my sanity. True, the security lines are clearly secret government experiments on how extreme stress affects the human mind, but there’s still nowhere better than an airport for that sheer, concentrated sense of potential.

If you’re the one getting on the plane, being in an airport usually means you’re traveling someplace far enough away from home that it automatically qualifies as an adventure. Vacations, naturally are the best – either to someplace new or a beloved spot you haven’t seen in too long – but even business trips can give you the taste of a new city. Afterward, being in an airport means you’re heading home again to a familiar bed and people who at least like you quite a bit.

If you’re not leaving or coming back, odds are you’re welcoming someone you love. Either it’s a family member coming home after experiencing their own adventure, or it’s distant loved ones who you don’t get to see often enough because there are so many miles between you.  No matter how annoying they can be, heading to an airport generally means that something significant is about to happen. It’s a controlled surprise.

In my own life, I’m generally the one leaving and coming back, since there’s too much I still want to see and none of my beloved beaches anywhere in my home state (the ocean is a terrible thing for a desert-dweller to love). In college I had one of my two best friends on each side of every plane ride, and now I have the whole wide world on one side and people I love on the other (and generally in the seat next to me). To keep that opportunity in my life, I’ll take disapproving TSA agents and terrifyingly small airplane bathrooms any day of the week.

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