In an Airport

I’m sitting in a lonely airport.

I just gave up my seat on an overbooked flight for a generous voucher and was re-booked on a flight four hours later than my original departure time. These situations rarely work out but this time I am mostly just shifting my layover times to different airports and moving my arrival time back about two hours.  I’ll be happy  for the voucher the next time I have to book a flight.

But now, here I sit with countless time to write… yet there’s really nothing to write about.

I am in a regional airport. Unlike the large hubs which are always filled with activity, regional airports are only loud and boisterous when there are flights coming and going and there often may be several hours between these times. Right now this airport is in between flights and so it’s deathly quiet other than the occasional announcement over the intercom’s, the faint sound of a television spewing propaganda on a cable news channel and the humming sound of the vending machines that are across the aisle from me. I am one of about a dozen passengers who have made their way past the security checkpoints and now are forced to kill time reading or sitting at the lone bar here or typing words into a blog.  Periodically someone else walks by, another passenger preparing to wait it out, or the cleaning personnel pushing a trash barrel.

I put my time in at the bar, ordering a sandwich and a couple of vastly overpriced  Corona’s for lunch. I sat by myself, my eyes darting from the TV behind the bar to the blogs I was perusing on my iPad. Neither was terribly interesting and so I mostly just sat and thought about what I could write.  A few other people sat in this little restaurant and read newspapers or stared at the screens on their phones.  I wondered what they might be thinking about; writing or missing their families or the work they had to do whenever they arrived at their destination.

The man behind the bar wore a net on his head, I assume because they were selling food here as well. It looked kind of silly and I wondered how he felt about having to wear it. He appeared to be about my age and was very friendly, running from the bar to the cash register and talking with the few customer that were stopping in. Regardless of his silly hair net, he was very jovial and upbeat and confident. He checked everybody’s ID that ordered a drink at the bar and would make the comment each time “can I see your ID so that nobody gets into trouble.”

After about an hour, I left the bar, walked to the restroom, emptied out some of the beer, then walked the couple of minutes to my gate. On the way I passed a young guy sleeping in one of the massage seats, his two bags sitting in front of him. I assumed he had probably not spent the $1.00 to get the seat to vibrate for a few minutes but only sat there because it was the most comfortable seat in the house.

When I arrived at the gate, there was nobody there and so I sat in the corner and fiddled with my iPad.  I snacked on a small box of Conversation Hearts that my wife had stealthily hid inside my backpack before I left. I had discovered these while loading all my electronics, my shoes and my jacket into the gray plastic tubs at the security gates. I smiled at her thoughtfulness and because I was reminded on my recent post on the subject of Conversation Hearts. As I sat, the minimal amount of alcohol from the Corona’s seeped into my blood and I felt sleepy but I didn’t want to fall asleep. Instead I wanted to try to write.

Now I sit at a little stainless steel desk with an outlet that I can plug my laptop into.  It’s the only desk in a row of six of these desks that doesn’t have a phone in it. I wondered who could possibly be using these phones anymore with the prominence of cell phones in the world today. But I’m happy to have the desk even though it’s too small for my height and I feel hunched over as I type.

I sat for a while trying to think of something to write. I thought about writing about my recent FP’d experience, but I just wasn’t inspired to write that post. As exciting as that was, I’m ready to move onto the next post. I tried to come up with something funny to write about, but there was nothing there. I considered writing about how I miss my family when I am on the road, about how difficult it is to leave, but that once I am gone and busy it becomes easier. But in reality, it’s not really easier. I remembered something another salesperson said to me several years ago; he said “there will never be a time when you’re on the road that you wouldn’t rather be home”. He was right and so I passed on writing about that as well.

So I sat in my little stainless steel cubicle and stared at the stark silver in front of me. I could faintly see my reflection in the shiny metal and my back ached from hunching over.

Then I just started writing.

Because sometimes writing about nothing can be the most interesting thing of all.


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18 responses to “In an Airport

  1. If you are still traveling on Monday we will be kindred spirits since I will be flying back Colorado. Happy trails!

  2. What a lovely deed you did. I’m sure that little act of kindness will come back to you. Safe travels, Cowboy. I’m glad you got your candy hearts to hold onto.

  3. Margie

    What an excellent blog idea! I spent yesterday hanging around a hospital while my dad had chemo and never really thought about how waiting could be the topic for a blog post!

  4. A well-written blank sheet of paper. It is indeed a truism that writing begets writing. I didn’t believe it could be that easy until I found it out for myself. Now I’ve just got to find a way to sit down in front of the PC. Bon Vogages.

  5. So true. After our facebook “conversation”, I sat on the plane home and played umpteen games of “memory” while the nagging pull to write about my trip intensified with every click of the “play again”. Finally, inspired by your comment, I wrote. But, you are right. I forget that painting a specific and well written picture of the day to day is often more intriguing than a semi-resolution of a mid-life crisis. I hope you are home now and with your loved ones.

  6. People watching and writing stories… I do this a lot… Kids love it!

  7. I don’t mind flying … it’s just the waiting around to do it that’s a problem.
    Writing about nothing is my bread and butter … or rice and soya sauce these days.
    I hope you got to where you were going to … and returned safely.

  8. I love reading about nothing, I love writing about nothing. I was just mentioning to my husband as I was watching a Seinfeld rerun, there is nothing more interesting or true or funny than real life and real life is chocked with a whole lot of ‘nothing’. Hope you travel safe, can’t be easy being away from the family like that. Get home soon.

  9. My daughter is a second year nursing student and has to write a lot of papers for her courses. Sometimes she sits down to write, and even though she has the topic, she just can’t get it down on paper. I tell her “just write”. Don’t try to make it perfect, just let the thoughts flow and worry about organization, grammar and punctuation later. You just have to get started and it will all come out on the page.

    It doesn’t matter what you’re writing about Steve, I love to read it. I hope you had safe travels.

  10. I don’t read Freshly Pressed anymore, and I read your post before they pressed it, so I didn’t know. Congratulations on being famous, Steve!!

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