JFK airport, waiting to go to Richmond: the dull roar of a crowd awaiting their delayed flights to depart.
The funny thing about being here, now, in this space, and what connects me to those around me is that we share the experience of being nowhere. We are going somewhere. And we do not care where we are now as long as we get to that somewhere.
Perhaps this accounts for why people (read: me) are such bungholes in airports and why America looks like a so-called third-world country if you look at the general happiness level of those in its airports and pair it with the shitty airport architecture. Munich! Copenhagen! Singapore! Those are airports.
There was a time when I was a kid (err, last year, as Georgia just pointed out) when I got excited about going to the airport. Last year before my trip to Madrid and Berlin I was so amped that I couldn’t even sleep the night before. Where’s this excitement now?
The excitement vanishes when there’s a wrinkle in the plans—precisely when my arrival is deferred and I am nowhere for a bit longer. Perhaps I should resign myself to being here for a bit: to being with these people, to be near others who I will probably never see again; to delight in the dislocation of transit, where for a time I am not quite myself, not quite in control everything in my life, where I am far from my life. The lesson of travel literature is that the traveler returns home after the voyage irrevocably changed. Home is never the same again. In a turn of the same logic, the destination is never the same either. You can’t go home again and you can’t return to the destination. In a sense we’re always at the limit of home/destination, never quite anywhere.
I’ll write from Richmond, where I am going to hang out with my mother and nephew, and to celebrate the marriage of my cousin to his awesome wife.