No matter how abundant and great the art is about, there are a lot of varied and fun installations, the airport is a tiresome place.
It is, for me, dreary. I dread driving toward it. My car jockeys off the I5 and onto the exit and I creep along into the parking garage. I wind up the ramp and cruse through the lanes looking for a yawning opening that will accommodate my Ford Escape. I park a lot at the airport, so my first action upon turning off the key is to make a note of my lane number.
My tired black Atlantic roller bag drags behind me as un-anxious as I am to enter Terminal B. But, we trudge along the cement deck, through the automatic glass doors that part as we approach.
The swath of industrial beige/brown carpet leads to the tram. We, my fellow passengers, and I herd into the tiny tinny car and again doors automatically work. Just as the faceless announcer warns…the train jolts to a start and we all sway and catch a poll or window sill to remain upright.
I stare at the tarmac over people’s shoulders. Never making eye contact.
Doors part allowing us to exit and we march into a roped off queue. I scramble to free my driver’s license from my wallet and marry it to my boarding pass. I align them correctly so the TSA agent will have an easier time reading them. Again, I stare slightly to the right or left past faces awaiting my turn in line to prove who I am.
I wrestle off my jacket, slip off my shoes and hoist my belongings onto the automated belt that will x-ray my life. The bottom of my bare feet are cold against the slick tile floor. My shoulders feel the breeze of the human x-ray as it swirls around me.
Shoes and jacket back in place and travel essentials accounted for…I see the upside down tree with light bulb leaves hovering over the departure gate sign. OK.
One and one-half hours to get to my gate and the mixed smells of roasted meats, burritos, pizza, coffee, donuts and perfume mixed together attack my nose. I pay for a bottle of cold water and head toward my gate with my book.
The restroom is on the left. My trusty valise and I struggle to get through the metal door and into the slim stall so I can pee.
All types of beauty products being applied at the mirror accompany the women peering and primping in to the wall long mirror over the sinks. I wash my hands in tepid water and the sweet flowery soap smell is nasty. A wave in front of a blinking red sensor spits out six inches of rough brown paper towel.
I snuggle into a genuine Naugahyde chair, park my bag and open my water and my latest only-have-time-to-read-at-the-airport novel trying not to hear anyone speaking around me.
No plane attached to the expanded walkway yet, so I listen for the roar of the jet engine that will soon arrive to take me away from home again.