• The Archer

What is an Airport?

If you've ever flown Southwest you know the feeling of your flight getting delayed. I have about 20 texts on my phone from last night alone minutely adjusting the time my flight was actually supposed to take off. First it was moved 5 hours forward, then 2 hours back and then within a 30 minute period, just back and forth for awhile.


Obviously the worst thing about this, other than how exhausted and hungry you are and inconveniencing everyone in your life is not knowing when you should leave for the airport. Especially when this happens at a night flight and you start to have spontaneous irrational thoughts like "What if they close the airport?" and "What if all the Uber drivers have gone to sleep?" Leaving for a 7 PM and 11:30 PM flight is very different-until the flight keeps jumping back between 7 and 11:30 and you finally bite the bullet and just leave 30 minutes before you had initially planned to leave anyway-so now 3:00 PM Uber for a flight that leaves at 11:30.


And now you're at the airport. And one of the most comforting things the baggage handlers can say is "Oh this flight. Yeah it looks like it's going to take off. Probably." And you get to learn fun rules of the airport like:

  1. You are not allowed in the fun part more than 4 hours before your flight takes off

  2. Even if they don't know when your flight is

  3. Or if you have a flight

  4. No, there are no working outlets before security because that's how homeless people end up spending the night here

  5. No one knows how the homeless people got to the airport when there is no good public transportation and the Ubers are $50 which is double the pre-covid rate

  6. Can we bring back Uber Pool for vaccinated people please? Cheaper Ubers and random tours of extremely sketchy parts of the city were my life circa 2019.

  7. Also Uber Pool shidduchim can't happen unless there's an Uber Pool.

And then, finally you're at the airport...security line and you are learning new rules like the machine can't see through cash and the machine can't see through organic materials and the machine can't see through yarn all of which beg the question WHAT CAN THE MACHINE SEE THROUGH? And all of which mean you are getting a slow, leisurely, hand examination by a TSA agent who is not enjoying their day.


But alas, you're finally at the gate. And according to the sign there are only 3 flights until it is close enough to your flight to show it on the screen because also while you were in security you got delayed another 30 minutes.


So you work. Or read. Or watch TV. Or have a 4 hour long argument with yourself about falling asleep where you don't actually end up falling asleep.


Or, if you're me, you do a little bit of both and also CATASTROPHIZE. For whatever reason airports often have me thinking thoughts like "I should have stayed in bed" when one of my favorite things in the world is to travel. There's a certain glumness to the people on delayed flights that permeates the air. It's the feeling of too much TV, of food that breaks the bank, and of uncertainty.


INSERT OBVIOUS SHIDDUCHIM METAPHOR HERE.


Shidduchim is an airport yes, but so is life. Airports are places, like New Jersey, that you only go to in order to get someplace else. That's why they're so easily metaphored and why they're the unsung hero of all romantic comedies. And, like all life and shidduchim metaphors the punchline is that you may as well enjoy yourself and get very very drunk. No, wait, that can't be it.


You're at an airport. You're going somewhere, even if it's just home for the holidays or because all of your siblings have simchas except for you. And it is true-you do the same things at an airport that you do in bed: read, TV, sleep, eat, catastrophize.


But you aren't in bed. You're somewhere. Even if it isn't a real place and even if everyone is wearing sweatshirts and socks it's real.


I had a thought yesterday-when pilots and flight attendants are at the airport between flights they are considered on break-because for them work is the sky. And for most of us the worst place to be on a break is the airport but for them, that's the break. So I assume they enjoy it and do hard drug-read Shakespeare and pray until it's time to go back to work. Most of us who work spend all day anticipating our breaks where we do airport activities to clear our heads.


The obvious shidduch to airport metaphor is there because in both cases it's about finding a little perspective. Your flight is delayed. You're still dating. But you're healthy and here enough to be at the airport. Can that be enough?


Bed is nice. Bed is comfy. But at the end of the day bed and airport aren't that different from one another. Perspective.


One day I'm going to realize how lucky I am to fly at all. You'd think COVID would have gotten me there but alas.


But it's enough for now to keep sitting in this terminal and thinking and predicting doom. It's not my bed but it's enough.


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