The terminal is huge. I should know. I’ve been wandering around it for the past hour, people watching. You’ve done it before. Don’t pretend you haven’t. It’s easy. Just sit down in a spot and pretend to be doing something else. Periodically check your watch, or study your fingernails, or even put on your sunglasses and pretend to be asleep. Then just listen to what’s going on around you. You’d be surprised at what you’re privy to when people don’t know you’re watching or listening to them.
But finding a spot to stop is tricky, because terminals work in cycles, just like anywhere else. Planes aren’t always taking off or arriving, but when they do either of these two things mad rushes ensue at different parts of the vast terminal. There are people running late who are dodging others left and right to try and make it to their gate. There are people who are hurrying to line up because they know how long it takes to board the airplane and they want to be able to relax in their seats as soon as possible. There are people who are waiting for others to get off the plane so they can embrace and appreciate a closeness that has been absent as long as they have been separated.
So I stop at Gate D44 because it’s not crowded with people in line for a flight or with people waiting to greet those disembarking from a flight. In fact, only two small groups of people are in the chairs servicing the gate. I glance briefly at the board and see that the next flight to Stockholm leaves from this gate in three hours. I sit down. I’m not going to Stockholm but I’m interested to see who is. This is the glory of watching and listening to strangers. I put on my sunglasses and lean back in my chair. I am directly across from the nearest small group of passengers, three people who somewhat resemble each other.
“I wish we didn’t have to get here so early,” the girl with blonde hair says. She is probably 15 years old, and already bored with the grand adventure. She is wearing a white t-shirt and short shorts. She pops her gum and I am reminded of when I used to pop my gum. Continue reading “The Terminal”