July 2nd, 2010 Newark Airport
So here I sit. I cannot actually connect to the internet, so I am writing this on Microsoft word. Although I have nearly a five hour layover, I know I will not be board because I am in a public place. People watching is such an accessible activity, especially at an airport like Newark that flies people hither, thither and yon every second. But let’s begin at the beginning (a very good place to start).
My goodbyes were short and I spent more time waving at my family than hugging them. I’m so darned sentimental though and as my plane pulled away from the gate, I wiped tears from my eyes, as usual. Silly, I know, to be so sad to leave the people you love most for six weeks. I have traveled so many times before and although I am always on my way to somewhere different, the feelings are the same. Anxiety, nerves, excitement, sadness, the brief moments of wet eyes before I realize how silly I’m being and turn my face to the air conditioning above my seat to dry my tears. I flew one of those small airplanes, the express jets, which have the seating configuration of 1 and 2. These planes are wonderful for those who love turbulence, because you can feel every slight bump like a residual lump in not-quite-mashed potatoes. I slept for the entire 31 minute flight; the pilot seemed to like to fly sideways…..so I kept my eyes closed. I deplaned in Newark and lugged myself and my two bags through the terminal to the wing where my plane takes off. I am glad that I don’t have to carry more bags, especially my suitcase, which somehow weighs 40lbs! This is unexpected for the girl who can go to Europe for 3 weeks with a 19 lb suitcase. Although, I suppose if you multiply 19 lbs and 2 weeks by two, than you get 40 lbs and six weeks, so I’m not doing too badly. I do not yet have a gate because my flight does not leave until nearly nine. For now, I people-watch. OH! There is my favorite PSA: “This is a special announcement, for security reasons, unattended baggage will be removed immediately for inspection and may be damaged or destroyed.” How caring.
Let’s see…who has passed thus far….
A family with a little boy running at the front, on his head was a costume hat from an Asian airline. The boy had obviously been given the hat, which sported a long black braid down the back and stood out against his blond hair, on the flight. The striking thing about the family, was that they had obviously all flown to Asia to adopt a baby girl, who was being perambulated by her mother through the airport in a stroller, looking wide-eyed at everything. Apparently, I am more sentimental than I have ever thought, because this too brought tears to my eyes at the remembrance of my own trip of this nature.
A man entirely in purple just passed (obviously European because only European men are comfortable with themselves enough to wear that sort of thing), two women with cute green shoes, two male flight attendants who are talking about marriage: “Never been married?” “Nope, never been married,” a girl in a completely….bright peach tracksuit, two groups of teens from the same tour group, one male and one female. I could not read their shirts, no matter how hard I tried not to stare at them. Multiple women in cute skirts with adorable shoes, one women in cheetah-print stilettos. Now, why would you wear high heels on an airplane fight? Sounds terrible to me. On the other side of that coin was the girl dressed in her pajamas. I wouldn’t wear that either. There is a girl opposite me who is doing as much inconspicuous (or not) people-watching as I am, and is obviously writing it in her journal, or making some sort of note of it, as I am. I have a feeling we would make good friends. Perhaps she is writing of me, just as I am writing of her. I have a fondness for the European men who wear capris. Man-pris, they are also called. I love that they know it’s okay and wish this style would come to the US. Although perhaps not because then it wouldn’t be so wonderful anymore and rather normal.
The family sitting next to me on the “for anyone benches” is German, although I am not sitting close enough to hear what they are saying.
I feel alone. And hot. Mom and Dad sent me a wonderful picture on my cell phone of them smiling. It made me so happy and I intend to save it to my computer so I can look at it often when six weeks seems too long. Six weeks will not, however, seem too long, because I am going to have a wonderful time. I can just hear the streets of England, lined with thatched houses and the moors of Scotland calling me. They speak in hushed tones and dance around my head, taunting me to come faster. If only I could. This day did sneak up on me, it was here before I knew it. I scarcely know how I got to this very spot in time, it seems such a blur. My head aches and I can’t help but wonder what I did to be so tired and ill-feeling except pack (this morning!) and bid goodbye to my family. The last image in my mind is of my family waving to me from the observation tower as I walked across the boarding strip to my plane. I turned my face to the wind although I could see their arms, pale in contrast to the tinted windows, waving rapidly back and forth. I sound like I’m writing a terrible goodbye novel, but I do love my family beyond all else and no matter how much fun I have when I’m away and how many times I’ve travelled, I feel a piece of my heart stay with them. But the German boy who has decided to sit quite close to me and squeak brings me back to the present; a noise that would have bothered me if emitted by my siblings but is strangely ignorable from him. That, and another pair of cute green hiking shoes. It is almost as if the shoes themselves are parading past me at blocked out intervals to attract my attention to the present moment.
I look at all the passing people, in hopes that I will recognize some of them or even one of them and make a contact before they all fly out to Heathrow. I am hoping that I am able to manage my suitcase, although I am sure I will find, as I always do, that it is smaller than the other suitcases in it’s cohort.
Flight attendants in mono-chromatic uniforms with perfect hair-ever the mystery, girls in shorts that may as well be underwear, families with unruly children, groups of young teenagers, young men travelling alone or in pairs, foreign families, several German families, many striped shirts, designer bags and silly designer shoes, an English family that reminds me why I am sitting here in the first place. I do often get lost in my thoughts. I need a drink but I am reluctant to walk through this airport trying to find one that may very well be priced at the dear amount of $4.00. They love to give drinks on the airplane, as if their sadistic little minds love seeing the person in the window-seat get up to use the lavatory 10 times during the flight, easily disrupting his seatmates in the process. Another pair of cute green hiking shoes and a chocolate bar. More cute hiking shoes, not green, but comfortable-looking nevertheless. Large hiking backpacks pass on the backs of three young adults, out to find themselves or perhaps returning to tell others what they’ve found.
How DO you get to ride one of those airport taxis?