March 01, 2008

A Ride to the Airport

While I was in Vegas, my friend Robert called. Cell phones are great - we talked for a few minutes before he relized I was not sitting in my office. He's heading out west on Sunday morning for a week of skiing. Before he was a balloonist, and a private pilot, and a dad, and had a real job, he was a ski bum. In fact, I think he got into ballooning in the first place because it seemed like a job that would not interfere with skiing. Now he sneaks in ski junkets every other year or so, when he can get away.

He asked if I would mind giving him a ride up to the airport, if his other options fell through. Not a problem - it might shuffle my Sunday morning yoga plans a bit, but no biggie. I like doing favors for friends.

Afterwards, I got to thinking. I have rarely asked for (or gotten) a ride to the airport. I drive myself, put my car in storage. I can think of maybe 2 instances in the past decade where I got rides. Just not my style.

And, coming out of security at airports, I often see folks waiting for passengers - friends, relatives, parents, kids, loved ones. Sometimes there is a sign, sometimes flowers or a balloon. Often I pass by a small huddle of hugs and laughing as a reunion takes place right there. Nobody has ever met me at the airport. Never. I've met plenty of people: friends, sig others, ex's, clients. But I've never walked out of an airport to find someone standing there, expectantly scanning the tired passengers and busy travels, waiting just for me.

Not sure what it all means. I guess I am the rugged independent sort, John Wayne with a yoga bag and mess of curls. Maybe I'm just too afraid of needing other people. Maybe I just don't let people in.

A long time ago, in a different life, I once quipped to a acquaintance on the cusp of becoming something more "I don't dance unless I am drunk, or in love". Some time later, as we danced at some wedding or other function, I was asked "Are you drunk?". Thinking it might be an inquiry into my ability to drive, I insisted, no, I was sober. Only later did I realize that I was, indeed, in love.

That was a long time ago. Dancing is not a big deal anymore: with friends, lovers, by myself or with strangers. I dance drunk or sober. I dance at the drop of a hat. But meet me at the airport sometime - and I'm all yours.....


TM said...

That's a very nice personal essay with just the right finish. You travel a lot, fly a lot, as do a lot of people. But most folks are in the habit of being driven to, and picked up from the airport. Yours is a unique perspective. Might be able to sell it to a travel mag, or one of the airlines in flight mags. Or, if you beef it up to about 1500 words it might get considered as a NY Times Modern Love essay. Those run in the Styles section of the Sunday Times. Next time you're in a library, pick up a Writers Market annual. It has some tips on where to send stuff like this. Editor names, addresses etc.

JenCooper said...

I agree with tm that what you have done here is to write a good essay by having taken a simple thing--a request from your friend, and to ponder it, think it through. Airports are functional yes, but places of great joy and sorrow, too. Sentimental places. This resonates.

Try Salon? The Sun?

On a non-writing note-- my husband and I used to fly a lot for work and now we fly a few times a year for play. I don't believe that either of us has ever been picked up/dropped off. We use Park Plaza at BDL, whether flying alone or together.It's an inside garage. Affordable, and you pull in and hop right onto their shuttle. When you pick up your car it's nice and warm and dry. Might want to check it out.

PS-- maybe give the Zipster a little leeway. We've got the grouchies around here too. Maybe it's just March?