Airport Love – Is It Possible?

Landed in Vegas about an hour ago, did you know they offer free wireless here! I paid my dues in the form of $1.50 in slot machine goodness. Wireless, is a treat especially if you’re flying home alone. Emily has to finish out the week teaching class, and the only way we could use a frequent flyer ticket with Southwest was if I went today so here I am blogging from Vegas. Preparing for the winter cold of Northern Ohio

Flying (and airports) seem to me to be at the bottom of my list of “fun things to do.” Is it just me or is just about everyone anxious and impatient when flying? Then there is always the hassle of finding the right seat, and hoping for a good neighbor. I tend to get the people who don’t want to talk, or who lean over there seat into my space so I have even less room then the barely-infant-sized “car-seats” you’re already allotted.

And for the holidays I’d expect to see more love in the air, but so far this is lacking as well. Even lovers seem to have little patience for one another when it comes to waiting during their three hour layover. I’ve thought about writing down the various uneasy narratives that unfold before my eyes, but then thought better of it. Then in my sophisticated, theological way I wondered, “what does it mean to live as though the Kingdom of God WAS RIGHT NOW, here in this airplane (or substitute for airport)?” And to be honest, I have no answer, especially not one that would reveal the amount of years I spent thinking about such questions.

I guess I am left to looking for even the slightest eye contact, so I can offer a wink or smile. I’ll even chance a conversation, at least until we are allowed to turn on our “portable electronic devices.” But even more than that I think I will keep to myself, be quite, and try to not create anymore problems for the flight attendants than they already have.

“Hey Miss, I think that Kid is playing gymnastics in the plane’s lavatory!”

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Wess

...is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

3 thoughts on “Airport Love – Is It Possible?”

  1. I have loved some of the conversations I have had with people in airports, but I guess this time of the year can add a lot of stress to the whole thing. The worst is when you have someone sitting next to you at the window that gets ups four or five times to go to the bathroom.

  2. Free wireless is the best thing to happen to airports ever, except for magazine stands. I actually blogged from Biloxi airport after last summer’s American Library conference in New Orleans. It made a believer in me out of the cheapness of wireless–Biloxi’s airport was probably smaller than most small airports and they just gave it away! It definitely made the trip easier to take.

    As for fussy travelers and airports, it can truly be the kingdom of God you are experiencing. I often mull over where the common spaces of today are, where most people meet one another in our divided world of class, race, and religion, and the airport has become one. Sometimes you see the effects of our culture’s segregation when having to come together in a common third-space (places where people share a common area or service which everyone needs or uses but cannot privately own). This is also a time to witness grace–where people can rise above the fray to take care of one another, such as when we tolerate a crying child or help someone with their bags rather than accept the alienation often found there among our fellow man. If you’ve seen the scenes in Meet The Parents where Ben Stiller deals with the airport, you know the alienation I’m talking about.

  3. @ Kevin, I should definitely try to have more conversations with people at the airport I think that could help things.

    @ I like the perspective you offer, thinking of airports as one of those commons spaces where people meet, and can often “rise above the fray.” This makes me wonder how the people trapped in the CO airports are doing right now. I hope they are not only just surviving but learning something about the strength and love deep within the human person.

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