Joy at the airport
TO me, time spent in airports seems not merely wasted, but spoilt as well. As a traveller at Christmas in particular, you just can’t escape the hassle of the crowds, the seemingly endless queues, the noisy hubbub, the cavernous shops and—as you either race against the clock or wish for idle minutes to slide past more quickly—an oppressive awareness of time. However, if airports strike me unequivocally as necessary evils of modern life, I was reminded of what extraordinarily touching places they can also be when I recently went to greet members of the family in an arrivals hall.
Amid the loitering ranks of taxi drivers was an ever-changing crowd of people waiting for their friends and family. There were even a few banners greeting those from, as I imagine, particularly long or distant travels. Time and time again bored faces lit up with the joy of recognition and reunion. Many of the meetings were comically inept, with one party entirely missing the waves and calls of the other, sometimes even while talking on phones together. But nobody cared. The greeting made, the reunited couple or group would contentedly walk away from the living nightmare of modern airport travel towards the happiness it makes possible. JG