To find the human inside
You know there’s always something in there to see."
I’m stuck. I’m stuck in the middle of the largest plane I have ever been on, and we are just waiting. We have at least an hour delay before we can take off, due to a storm pattern over Chicago. I never sleep well the night before a day of travel, and I really can’t sleep on planes. The drive to Denver this morning was the normal 2 or so hours, nothing too eventful, although I hate leaving my safety net. I hate leaving my family behind to go visit my mom, I end up feeling like I am 12 again. Yes, I know my mother only has as much over as I give her, but it doesn’t really feel that way. Walking into the airport this morning felt like leaving my security blanket at home. I was rushed with the feeling of displacement; lost, tossed into the confusion of a million different lives intersecting for one short, brilliant moment in time. Even though I had been surrounded by hundreds, thousands, of people I felt so alone in those first moments in the airport. Airports, like said in Love Actually, can be great places of love and happiness, but they can also be one of the loneliest places. Surrounded by so many lives, but still so remote that you don’t even come out as a blip on most peoples radar, who pass through that airport.
Looking over the upper-level balcony in DIA onto the waiting line to pass through security was almost breath taking, (mainly because I didn’t want to stand in the friggin’ line), the shear number of bodies that inhabited that space, waiting to disperse from here. Standing in line, I was nervous, wondering if I was going to get yelled at for anything: I have no liquids, check. No knives, check. No bombs, check. Check check and check. When people get ready to depart there are no smiles, no expressions of joy, or exchanges of hugs that we see when people arrive to where there are going. Instead there are just stern somber faces, following rules just like everyone else, screaming children, upset mothers, and agitated lovers. It is odd to think that so many people pass through this one single place, so many different pairs of feet have treaded this exact same path. There are so many possibilities for lives to intersect, to make some sort of contact with another human life, but do we? No. And I am no exception, too scared to take the first step.
Walking to my gate I pass people I will never know, never meet, and probably never see again. But for one brief moment our lives intersected, there was no hello, head nod, or even eye contact, for we live in an age of isolation. Next time I think I will say hello to see who you are.
My stop in Chicago is just a layover, a fueling stop for a lot of people on this flight. They are headed to Amsterdam. I always like walking around the terminal looking at where all the other flights are headed, were everyone else’s lives are going, and imagine what it would be like to be on that flight. The plane I am sitting in is a Boeing 777 and it is pretty sweet, in front of me in the back of the seat is a built in mini-screen – yes I get cable on my flight to Chicago. Another nifty feature is that it has a map feature letting the passenger approximately know where they are in the sky. We took off about an hour ago and are somewhere over Iowa. I have my passport on me, would they let me just fly all the way to Amsterdam? Skipping Chicago completely. Never getting off at the layover, sleeping until we are well over the Atlantic? I think I’ll close my eyes and see if it happens.
p.s. They wouldn't let me stay on the plane, so I walked down the long plank to baggage claim, holding my breath.