Airports feel like such places of lost time. We are all in transit here, walking around with our carry-ons, wondering if we ought to buy something at Duty Free. We look at the screens displaying departure times, gates and other messages. We bump into people we never will see again. We breathe old air that has been recycled a thousand times. Some people take the opportunity to drink beer for breakfast. Others buy the gossip magazines they don’t want to be seen reading other places.
I am on my way to Burma and I put on funny shoes when I left snowy Norway. The shoes are OK for warm climate, but while I am still in Scandinavia I had to wear socks with them. And to make matters worse, I chose thick purple socks. They are very visible below my black pants, and I would never have chosen such nerd-dom had I not been traveling with people I don’t know, and, like I said, most likely will never see again.
It may be a stretch, but an airport is a miniature world. And the people wandering here are a picture of how life is for too many of us. Walking aimlessly. Pushing our stuff around. Avoiding talking to the people that may be sitting so close to us that we are actually touching each other. Watching things that give no meaning, but that makes time pass. Waiting for something to happen, but not really sure what it is. Eating crap.
The privilege of having Gold status with an airline is not mine. I want it badly, but I think the tickets I buy are too cheap to qualify for bonus points. Or something. But today I paid 20 dollars and was allowed access to a lounge together with many business men all dressed in white shirts. They are walking about with their iPhones and headphones talking loudly to the person in the phone. They are saying things like: “But I told you already what the deadline for the deal is, and it hasn’t changed.” “My associate said that when we signed the contract it was agreed that we will assume this responsibility.” “I attended a workshop with the CEO and he had some brilliant insights into the current affairs.” They say all this so loudly while they are holding their phones with one hand and a glass of Scotch with another. What do I know? Is there actually a person at the other end of the line, or are they just pretending to be important? Could it be that they actually don’t have any friends, no job and not even a Gold card on an airline? Could it be that they too just paid a little bit of money go come in here so that they can get the feeling of importance and of status?
Did they post a photo on their Twitter account? (You do know, don’t you that this generation of VIPs are not that keen on Facebook, and Instagram is for their kids. It is Twitter that counts now.) Did they post a photo of the wine glass and the incandescent lights in the background and title the photo: “On my way to a meeting in Brussels?” It is impossible for me to guess. I will never know.
I do know this though: I have been sitting here for three hours now. I have also had a glass of red wine and some soup that tasted gross. I have been incredibly productive with my time at the airport. I have worked and I have crossed things off my to-do-list. My socks keep my feet warm and the time in transit has helped me get ahead of the work I knew I needed to do. I have on purpose not talked on the phone, and I have not tried to look important. But, it is very possible that some people have watched me sitting here for this whole time and wondered what my problem is. They may have thought that I am on the computer for this long just so that I can look like I have a job. They may look at my socks and wonder how I ended up at an airport lounge since my style is so out-of-date. But it is more likely that nobody has even taken any notice of me. I am just a person occupying a chair.
It is strange how small an airport makes you feel.