Hey, folks. Yesterday’s Daily Prompt was all about passing time. Specifically, passing time when you’re stuck in an airport for more than six hours, and you’ve got no electronics to fall back on. This exact scenario actually happened to me on the way back from Aruba in 2013. Due to how the connecting flights played out, I was stuck at LAX from midnight to about 8:30 AM. And I’ve posted picturesto prove it. As you can probably imagine, being alone in an airport all night isn’t fun. Actually, it’s kinda creepy. All the stores were locked up, and I was the only human being in that area for quite a while. I’m the type that loves solitude, but I was getting some serious Langoliers vibes after a couple of hours.
I’ve never been the type to depend so much on electronics for boredom. My iPod gets some time, but I tend to leave it off to spare the battery, or if I’m exploring someplace new. Though I work primarily from a laptop, I never take it with me while I travel. I didn’t even get a smart phone until about a month ago, and I’ve made maybe ten calls on it since. When I was in LAX, I still had a flip phone from 2003. I also had my 3DS, but I was saving its remaining power for the rest of the flight home. Instead, I did something far more engrossing: I read. I read for hours. I’m used to doing so on cramped, loud subways and buses, so reading in a silent airport gate was a godsend. A janitor crew came by at some point, but ignored me. I burned through American Gods and most of Norwegian Wood, then eventually fell asleep. You’d be surprised how comfortable those chairs can be. I woke up to the sound of someone opening the security gate at the Starbucks down the hall. Half an hour later, and my once-peaceful world was overrun with weary tourists and screaming kids.
Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about stories. Specifically, the story behind the first picture of yourself that you can find. Not surprisingly, I had to do some serious digging through my library. There aren’t many photos of me. I always dislike how I turn out; there’s something off with the lighting, my smile seems goofy, and it just doesn’t look good. I’d rather take pictures of something, anything more interesting and beautiful. In the photograph for this entry, it’s the setting that stood out.
I’m standing in front of a large sign that says “Welcome to New York”. I noticed it on my last layover through JFK International Airport in 2011. It’s hanging on the wall just after the security checkpoint. I’m smiling for the camera, but it’s a little strained from having to gather my belongings and put my shoes and belt back on. I regard airport security with ambivalence; I’ve traveled enough times to make it routine, but I get patted down at least once per trip. I guess I look suspicious…It doesn’t help that – at least for this particular trip – I’m decked out with a backpack, three clothing layers, and several pockets. Cargo pants are a staple of all my vacations, by virtue of practicality. However, I’m also draped in my black overcoat. It’s not something I’ll likely need in the coming week, though. I’m heading out to Madrid and then Málaga (along with Seville, Tangier, and Gibraltar eventually) but I don’t know what the weather is going to be like.
There’s a certain sense of urgency in the air. JFK is a bustling, frantically-paced airport. It’s almost suffocating. Even as I stand faking a grin, there’s a whole crowd of people off to my left. Weary travelers dragging their rolling suitcases and checking their phones, refusing to take even a moment to enjoy the setting. It’s fine, I can’t stand there all day. My hair is already untied and matted a little on one side, which means I’ve long stopped caring about feeling fresh and am focused on reaching the next gate in time. I’ll make it with minutes to spare, and I’ll gladly leave JFK in favor of Madrid’s far more relaxing atmosphere.
Another week, another challenge. My return from Aruba last year required a few layovers…including a 12-8 AM stint at LAX. After leaving my plane, I did not see another human being – in one of the busiest airports in the world – for nearly three hours. Creepy.
On the way back from my last trip, I had an eight hour layover at LAX…in the middle of the night. This is what one of the busiest airports in America looks like at 3:55 AM. Yeah, it was kind of creepy. It was the beginning of a brand new day, yet I was the only one around to enjoy the silence. It took another hour and a half before I saw another human being…opening up the Starbucks. Figures.