Johns Hopkins University
The Airport: More Than Misery
Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there and why is it meaningful to you?
I have been led to believe that for most, the airport is compulsory misery, a means to an end, on par with a visit to the DMV. But for me, alone in the airport, amidst the chaos of mankind, I am entranced. Perhaps it’s my desire for independence, or the opportunity to be a silent yet observant bystander of the fascinating dynamics of human nature, that draws me to the airport. Perhaps it’s the absurd abundance of Starbucks. But more likely, it’s the feeling that the airport elicits in me, the sensation that I am part of a worldwide interconnectedness, a universalism spanning borders, cultures, and generations in a common thread linking humanity together.
Of course, if we break it down, of what is humanity comprised? Individuals with stories that represent their experiences and perspectives and dreams. From a young age, I was enthralled by the endless possibilities of these stories. On long road trips, I would gaze out the car window into the fleeting profiles of the passing cars and conjure up lives and destinations for the passengers, as I do now at the airport. The heavily bearded man in the Volkswagen with the bumper sticker “Start a Revolution!” became a flower-child who now travels the world installing water pumps in...
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