Hey there. This isn’t a catch-up post on all the crazy happenings in my life. It’s not even an apology for not really finishing up the attempt to document South Africa. Nobody has time for that. Or maybe I don’t have time for that. Or maybe I’ve stopped making time for that. Anyway, here are some words I wrote.
Tonight I found myself at the exact terminal catching the exact flight from Dallas to San Francisco that I took six months ago, to the day. Exactly. Same time, same place, plenty of deja vu. Especially because I distinctly remember writing about it all, I was in a mood. Or something. Anyway, I reread all the lines and decided they needed a better place to live than in my computer. So here’s me passing them along to you. Hope you’re all well.
some days it’s the engine. just understanding that a body of metal can rise into the air, the physics, the human intelligence behind the developments. other days it’s the humanity. knowing that it’s the one intersection where faces of every stereotype can intersect without any questions asked. each terminal reflects a bit about its passengers, each delayed flight revealing the color of their attitudes.
i guess those are cliche curiosities. but i find them more reflective of myself than most other quandaries i pursue. the juxtaposition, the contrast, the coalescing of black and white. i’ve looked pretty hard for labels. a group of people to claim as my own. and over time, i’ve found handfuls of them. i’ve found pals that hike with me during my stints in the mountains, a few acrobats that “get it” when it comes to overwhelming urges to walk on my hands. i love the phrase “cut from the same cloth” cause lately it’s been the only thing that even kind of eats away at the plaguing desire to belong. i don’t doubt my incredible friends, but each seems to be a mile marker along my journey. each one highlights an aspect of my personality while no single souls have been able to reflect me. maybe because there’s only one of me. maybe nobody has those people. but i can’t help but think the Surfers, the Gymnasts, the Researchers and the Artists just tend to veer toward more exclusive crowds. How often do they intersect? Am I just underrating the many dimensions of those that do adhere more strictly to labels?
I don’t know. But since I started writing this I have learned new things about planes, met a new human, and fallen victim to the oh so recently foreshadowed Delayed Flight. I’m in this vortex of time and space. In a maze of terminals, in a moment of time that doesn’t really count because I’m exactly halfway through my cross-country trip, right between time zones. These people are following signs. Who knows anything about this city, this building, these glass structures that were probably an overpriced attempt to draw attention and praise to the tourism sector, who here knows? After security, every person is either getting onto or off a giant vessel transporting them to places and people many miles away.
Yet this is still only a snapshot of the world population. Those that can arrange for flight travel represent a sliver of all people. An elite bunch, likely with debt if not wealth, that has access to these time-traveling, ocean-traversing inventions. I don’t think it’s necessary to spend time addressing whether or not we’re jaded by everyday miracles of technology. We probably are. But so what?
For the moment, we’re all right here. Some laughing, some crying, most holding a smartphone. Nobody has any plans. We’re all just here now. We’ve told all our people that we’re flying today and somehow that garners a reasonable excuse to drop off the grid. We’ve probably said both hellos and goodbyes, if only to the flight crew. We share this day. On all our schedules, google calendars and mental datebooks, today is for travel. We’re surrounded by tons of souls who, just like us, don’t know anybody else in this entire state, while plenty still could give you a full history of the place- and some will do just that. If there’s a better illustration of being alone in a crowd, or feeling at home amongst strangers, I don’t know it. There are flashing lights and frantic legs and zippers and chargers and duty-free perfume. WIth any luck, I’ll be in the air in a few hours. Leaving this temporary refuge of solidarity behind, entering the land above the clouds and crowds. Trying desperately to grasp for the moments of clarity I found while up in the Sky, reaching for my values and purpose that I knew so well in the terminal but have since been muddled in a daily commute. I’m here now though, I always am, as we always are.