Monday, August 29, 2011

On The Road

Greetings from the food court at the Albuquerque International Sunport. I’m here with my brother and sister-in-law as we wait for our planes. They’re bound for Baltimore; I’m heading to Dallas and then Miami.

I think I’ve noted this before, but Albuquerque’s airport is one of the more attractive terminals I’ve been to. It is designed to reflect the New Mexico adobe style with brick and tile floors, sand-color walls, and direction signs in turquoise and white. Oh, and did I mention that unlike a lot of larger airports (O’Hare, DFW and MIA come to mind), it has free WiFi? That comes in handy when you have time to kill while waiting for the plane.

So I’m perusing the headlines; Qaddafi’s wife and kids have fled to Algeria, stocks are up on the news that Hurricane Irene didn’t cause as much damage as expected, Michele Bachmann said that the earthquake and hurricane last week were warning signs from God — only to have a staffer tell the press that it was said “in jest.” All in all, a pretty average news day. That gives me time to do what I like to do in airports: people-watch.

I have the same logic as John Steinbeck: I excuse my observation of other people as an attempt to find the depth in the human character that will show up in my writing, but in reality I think I’m merely curious. I observe the way they walk, carry their bags, chat with their traveling companion, eat their fast-food meal, read their paper, text on their phone, or just sit and wait for their plane. I rarely speculate on where they’re going or why they’re here — it doesn’t really matter: the guy with the Red Sox cap may be a businessman in from the East Coast, or he could be on his way to visit his parents in Taos or his lover in Tijeras. Someone may be coming here for a funeral, the other may be here for a wedding. Those folks may be here to begin a vacation; that couple may be coming back from one. I’m storing all of these ideas in my little memory chip for characters in my next play or short story, or merely for the continued learning about my fellow man, woman, and child.

Enough navel-gazing. On to Gate A-3 and my flight to Dallas.