Airports give me faith in humanity.

No seriously.

Where else is it so socially acceptable to be openly affectionate with those you love? All it takes is one quick look around and you will undoubtedly witness hugs, kisses, laughter, and tears.

The farewells are often sad. I once witnessed a young couple locked in such a tight embrace, even I wished it would never end. He was dressed in full army fatigues and she was nearly hysterical, collapsing in his arms in a pile of tears. While none of us ever really knows if we will see one other again after saying goodbye, these two certainly had reason to be fearful. I almost felt guilty standing there as they shared such an obviously intimate moment, right in the middle of the chaos that our current airport security area has now become. But I’m not sure they noticed the blaring PA system repeating the same message about how you can’t even bring a lipgloss with you onto the plane unless it fits into the 1 quart Ziploc bag the government has so graciously allotted us. They were completely consumed in the moment, and for once the material world seemed to melt away. I like that.

The arrivals are my favorite. I love watching the faces of people as they anxiously await their loved ones. Eyes frantically scan the crowds of people breezing through the tiny gap that connects the travelers back to the home-town side of security, and once they lock with those of which they are searching, sheer joy erupts. Often you will hear squeals of excitement followed by peals of laughter. Men publicly hug other men, mothers fuss over their sons and daughters “looking so grown up,” lovers reunite, and in my most favorite case: families meet the newest additions for the first time! Though the waiting area is always crowded, and only becomes more so as the travelers arrive, no one seems to notice or care. Everyone is focused on their re-connection, and it is truly a beautiful thing.

Yes, airports give me faith in humanity. In a world that is otherwise often quite harsh; airports are full of unfiltered, unashamed emotion. Love and sadness, grief and celebration, strangers and lovers, all mixed together under one roof. And the greatest part of all is that this building is almost always open. This magical taste of humanity can be viewed day after day by anyone willing to make the drive.

I strongly recommend it. Even if it means you have to pay for parking.

Comments

So true! So very true! And I should know - been to the airport enough times!
kendra said…
Have you ever seen "Love Actually"? It starts and ends with commentary about these very same things... I have always thought it was a beautiful recognition.
Vanessa's Dad said…
I saw "Love Actually." It was unique and interesting. Liked the soundtrack.

Natalie, you have such a way with words and creating a word picture at the same time you write a short story and give wise advice.

Looking forward to seeing ya in the morning.

LOVE, DAD
I saw lots of hugs, high-fives, back slaps, jokes, tears, and all sorts of emotions last night at the airport. I think being at the airport after midnight - brings out extra emotions in people.
Amanda said…
Kendra beat me to it. I was going to comment on "Love Actually" as well. Same sentiments. But as someone who has spent far too much time in airports in the last 24 hours, I do totally agree with you about what a wonderfully "no shame or embarrasment zone" they can be for sharing your emotions. December 26th 2007 marks my all time favorite airport experience. I don't think I can ever top that morning of seeing my family gathered together to welcome the newest member to the Mainland.