Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; I haven’t had espresso in a few weeks. It hits you different than straight coffee. It’s smoother, thicker, has a bite. That bite’s different than strong coffee. Think of it like this: you’re walking on a beach. The tide’s gone down. You could walk up top where it’s dry and naked and the sand will burn your feet, or you can walk on the sea shells – cool, but they’ll cut you sometimes. Espresso’s the part with the seashells.
Sometimes I think I’ll always be stuck in an airport. Before you get the wrong idea, I haven’t been flying anywhere recently. It’s just this feeling that the only times that ever mattered happened in cold, bright, crowded airports.
Coming back from Japan I got caught in flight delays and layovers. I ended up in Newark around 3:00 a.m. Because it was my port of entry, I had to go through customs, but because it was so early the security checks weren’t open for me to make my way back in. I waited for three hours in a pre-dawn terminal. The only place open was a Dunkin Donuts. I hadn’t slept for 24 hours and had been up all night drinking with my Japanese friends before that. I remember the too-sweet smell of the plastic-backed chairs that I pulled together into a makeshift bed, and I remember the sound of a West African man talking to his daughter on his cell.
Landing in Heraklion, Crete, I had no money. No cash of any currency. It was my first time out of the country (well, I’d been to Canada, but that hardly counts) and my plan was to withdraw from an airport ATM. Problem was, the ATM didn’t take my debit card. I didn’t know what to do. The airport was about ten miles from the city where my school group was staying. I couldn’t afford taxi fare or buses. Eventually, a nice Greek guy gave me a couple Euros and I hopped the bus. But I’ll always have the yellow-brown walls and dumbfounded white eyes of the flight attendants locked in memory. I was alone and lost in a world of constant transit. It made me realize that I am always a little bit alone and a little bit in transit.
So find me at an airport bar getting tipsy on double-priced Modelo. Anywhere else and there’s a good chance I’m barely there.
Novel Count: 25,064
Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami
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Air travel reminds us who we are. It’s the means by which we recognize ourselves as modern. The process removes us from the world and sets us apart from each other. We wander in the ambient noise, checking one more time for the flight coupon, the boarding pass, the visa. The process convinces us that at any moment we may have to submit to the force that is implied in all this, the unknown authority behind it, behind the categories, the languages we don’t understand. This vast terminal has been erected to examine souls.Don DeLillo, The Names