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Monday, June 21, 2010

Airports are a Magical Place

I don't care what anyone says, I still think of airports as a magical place.

But first, let's get the annoying points out of the way. Security is ridiculous. Taking off your shoes and organizing your on-board pack to remove all traces of liquids is not going to stop a bomb or a terrorist from getting through. Traffic is always weird -- you never know where you're going to park and who can drive you there at 4 in the morning. Flights are expensive, cramped, vulnerable to weather, inundated with meaningless regulations, and you are at the mercy of the airline's whims if they decide to bump the flight.

But once you get past security, the airport--the airport itself--is like this magical city in the future. Part mall, part factory. And it's so clean, always clean as a whistle. You can get not only DVDs but DVD players out of a vending machine (and computers and tech equipment). Stores dedicated to the most up to date news and literature. Bars with fine wood finishes, clean serving tables, isolated into their own dark worlds. Workers in snap, clean uniforms wander back and forth, standing up straight. Walking is made obselete by monorails and treadmills, just like on The Jetsons. Food is convenient, frequent, and tastes good. It comes from kiosks in the wall, or if you don't feel like interacting with humans, you can get a whole meal from a vending machine.

There are no homeless, there are no streets for trash to lay on. There's no pickpockets. There's no crime. There's no gambling (unless you're in Vegas). There's no projects, no poor urban housing developments. No gangs, no robberies, no murders, no schools closing due to budget cuts, no children dying of diseases that a family cannot afford to treat.

It's like being a drifter or hitchhiker, but in a clean, static environment. I think it would be a romantic life to be like George Clooney in "Up in the Air". Basically, you live in the airport, and can play on your computer the whole time. Read a book. Fly from city to city, never putting down roots, never actually seeing the town you're in. You get little slices from the feel of the air, the people around you, the food in the airport, the decor. But you never need to actually get out and see where you're at. You can live at the airport, this giant enclosed city, the entire time.
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