Ahhh, the language of airports.
I can’t help but listen; it’s my voice, after all; my unique vernacular, and it’s crystal clear—to me anyway.
All the things in my head start brimming early on a travel day. Every keen observation I make throughout the treacherous journey, from my cell phone alarm, to central parking, to the kiosk, to my gate, is released to remind me of who I am and to challenge me with some early morning discomfort and fright.
I fly mostly alone now, you see.
Nervous energy fills my wings, but slowly and steadily, the most beautiful acceptance also awaits.
The airport is a special kind of battlefield for me.
No more rank and file for this guy.
No more image to uphold.
No more leadership position as I march through the terminal a little bit proud to be in charge, but a little bit stressed—though that was always carefully hidden.
This morning I adorned myself with bracelets on one wrist—one blue rubber band, one light green one, some writing on both; a woven American flag on a leather band; and some heavy beads on the last one.
On the other hand, a watch that hasn’t kept time since 2016, but has a nice weight to keep me balanced, and a black Nike tennis wristband that reminds me of my son, and also that I’m an athlete.
That I know how to compete.
Today, in fact, I am competing again—against my internal opponents, fear, anxiety, trepidation, and change.
Reminded of what was, and relishing what is.
Also in my possession, a wallet that has bite marks from my Aruban special, and accomplice, Faya—my dog who brings me constant joy, but chewed this wallet over a year and a half ago.
In that wallet, two credit cards and a license and two wrinkled dollar bills. One of the credit cards is also chewed and, as a result, cannot be swiped.
I think Faya got the card the same day as the wallet—I’ve had to use the chip for over a year, and I have somehow managed to survive, phew.
No longer do I carry a wallet stuffed with cards I don’t want, need, or will ever use—
Glimpses of the minimalist life I quietly try to implement.
I won’t replace this wallet either—it reminds me of her, and she is love.
Just ask anyone who knows her and they will tell you. She is a dream.
I miss her already.
On my feet are sneakers I bought over four years ago and wore, never. My son uncovered them just yesterday. I do like them—they remind me of my style back then, and how it’s still here, and still waiting for me to arrive.
No socks—I lost those years ago.
I don’t wear them anymore.
I feel that socks are made-up things that are unnecessary, restricting, and stifling, and they limit my feet and my toes.
Everyone wears socks, well, at least most people I see—unless they are in sandals or flip-flops. Not me though. Never again.
My feet are free and oh do I like that,
my sneakers, not so much.
I’m not showered yet.
Showers are a luxury now, and the stars need to align for me to get a nice, long, hot one, though sometimes they can trigger me—reminding of all the boxes I used to check, when I had to have a certain type of shampoo—like it mattered.
In my generic, faceless, and label-less black roller bag is a collection of some of my favorite “current” clothing—the same collection as last trip.
How do I know it’s the same?
I never unpacked from the last time I left home. Yes, I’m a genius, I know.
And thank you,
and you’re welcome.
Oh, f*ck—I didn’t brush my teeth.
Oh well, I’ll do that seven miles up, in my private bathroom, and at a comfortable cruising altitude. Not a problem for me—I like that little bouncy bathroom, and the lighting is good.
Double f*ck—did I take a picture of where I parked?
Was it the swans, the minuteman, T or TT?
Green or Blue?
Screw it, I’m on level 4, right outside the doors. Terminal A. I got this.
It’s in this article, I can’t possibly forget now.
Excuse me, I must wrap this up though—I’m in the exit row, and I am talking to the flight attendant about my responsibilities in the event I am called upon to be my best, and lead my passengers to safety.
I’m proud again—Mr. Newly-appointed sky miles ambassador is ready to serve.
I am so loved, and so appreciated.
The next place I’ll go is everywhere (with my sky miles, of course)!
Oh, hello, milk chocolate-covered pretzels in a plastic baggie with a Purell single. It’s so nice to see you. Gone.
And for the record, at this point, “Purell” should not be spell-checked on my phone.
Get with the program, not so smartphone—it’s the world’s leading hand sanitizer and we live in Covid City!
If you’ve made it this far, perhaps you’ll go a little further with me—you see, this trip is important.
I’m off to see the woman I love.
My shins are banged up and bloody from several run-ins with my incredible vintage antique platform truck coffee table, which is a sign that I have too many things on my mind—but ya know, I’m human and I bleed.
This woman accepts all this stuff about me, my chewed-up wallet, my bloody shins, my “timeless” watch, and she likes my black wristband.
She may not, however, like the chocolate-covered pretzels—she has a particular diet, you see.
And that, I adore.
I’m in a different state now, both mentally, and physically, and it’s a beautiful day out, and I will see her soon.
It’s time to live in the present.
Hey, look, I’m in the exit row again.
Wouldn’t you know?