You know how it is, killing time in airports, waiting for your connecting flight?
Travelers just like you. Families with children. Members of the clergy. Young backpackers. Everyone moving in different directions at once.
It seems natural for some people, sleeping in a crowded airport, straddled across 2 seats, dead to the world.
I’d be afraid of missing my plane if I did such a thing. I’ll be there, sitting on those uncomfortable seats, red or orange in true 60’s color, trying not to make eye-contact with everyone around me, who are also not trying to make eye-contact with me. Sometimes I’ll let my legs touch my suitcases, letting me know that they are indeed safe, while I keep a wary eye for those luggage thieves, who have somehow managed to slip through security and have been eyeing my less-than-desirable, rather worse-for-wear carry on, with no value whatsoever inside.
My valuables are on my person, in an undisclosed location, expecting violation at any moment! That family with the children, who appear to be any other ordinary family, are in reality trained luggage thieves. The children have been trained since they, well since they were children, to distract travelers while their “supposed” parents go in for the kill!
The nun next to me smiles and clutches her bag. How do we know if those around us are kosher? Not in the food sense, but in thinking and believing we are who we appear to be? She gets up and changes seats, making me wonder if I remembered to use my special Airport Deodorant, or if I forgot to use it due to a rush out of the door in my haste to get to the airport on time? I just hate that when it happens. In a foreign Airport with the wrong Deodorant on my obvious sweating body!
The children seem to be moving closer to me all the time. The parents continue to smile while eating their homemade sandwiches, wrapped in some foreign-looking newspaper, coming from some foreign place. I smile and nod in the direction of their children. “Cute Tykes” I am thinking, just in case they can read minds, or something tricky like that?
The fellow with the headset, who has been sleeping for the last 2 hours, suddenly wakes up. A minute or so later, a voice blares out of the loudspeaker that his flight is boarding at Gate 5. He casually gets up and brushes off the Airport Dust and goes on his way. How did he do that? Wake up at the right time, not missing a beat in this heartthrob of an airport.
I experience a momentary panic attack. What if my ticket is wrong, or I’ve been waiting in the wrong terminal? Did I choose the non-smoking section of the plane? OK. I know they don’t allow smoking on planes, but why are there still “No Smoking” signs on some of them? I am not paranoid. I am just a traveler. I repeat those truths to myself. Time and again.
The call goes out for my flight. The family seems to be traveling on the same flight. The sandwich wrappers are tossed into the nearby bin, while the children start to gather together their possessions.
The nun is also on the move. She is standing in line with me, waiting to be boarded. She looks a bit worried about the clock on the wall, as if she had anything to worry about – having the Big Boy on her side! Just after we get our boarding passes, she turns to me before we enter the plane and says, “Don’t you just hate Airports?”
Yes. I do. And this is just the first one out of 4. And we haven’t even left Denmark yet!
Now where have those children gotten to……..?