Friday, February 1, 2008

Limbo (100x12)


The baggage check lines snake back and forth between the metal stanchions with their black nylon belts. I make my way to the back of the line with my bags and then stand and shuffle, stand and shuffle, dragging my luggage along with me at each three-foot advance. Every ninety seconds a recorded announcement is broadcast over the PA in three languages warning against leaving your luggage unattended or accepting luggage from any stranger. Twenty minutes later, I check my bags, and go off to the security checkpoint to stand in line and wait to take off my shoes.

Process Reflection: The topic was "airports." I decided to just focus down at the moment of arrival and see how far 100 words would take me. Not that far, obviously, which is part of the point, I guess. Going through the whole process in any detail would take pages and pages, and who would want to read it?

I hate traveling. I hate the dead time, the standing around, the waiting around at the gates, the time it takes to get everyone seated, the time taxiing, the time in the air, the lack of space, the bad food, the need to climb over or be climbed over your fellow travelers, the waiting around for the bags.

Which isn't to say there aren't minor compensations. I like the moment of takeoff, the jet hurtling down the runway then, miraculously, rising into the air. I like the descent and touchdown. I also like wandering around strange airports on layovers, eating bad food, checking out the bookstores, studying the people. And once I get where I'm going, obviously I like being there.

But given a choice, most times, I'd just as soon stay home.

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