Sunday, December 27, 2015

Houston International Airport, 27 Dec 2015


I think what I like about being at an airport is that it's a kind of limbo. Right now I'm at IAH, where I was booked on a 7:28p flight back to Chicago O'Hare Airport. Instead, I'm now waiting for a 10:45p flight because my other one was canceled.

So I sit, pace, eat a late dinner, read, people-watch and wait. Do I mind how late it's getting for a 2 1/2 hour flight? No. Am I worried about having to stay another night in Houston instead of sleeping in my own bed? Nope. I trust I'll be fine no matter how little sleep I get or where I end up at 3:00a. It'll be fine. 

I don't mind delays that cause me to sit in airports or on the runway for the same reasons others hate it: I enjoy time spent doing nothing, I like someone else being in control of the vehicle I'm riding and I'm rarely life-or-death eager to get where I'm going. Arguably being at home is better than sitting in an airport, but my apartment isn't going anywhere. I'll enjoy it when I get there. 

What it comes down to is that I like being in airport limbo. In this state, I'm neither on vacation nor at home. While I'm in transit -- or waiting like this -- my life is on hold, there are no decisions I can make or actions I can take. Everything has to stop because I'm effectively untethered and unplugged from my life. It's a respite from the tasks, habits and relationships that usually occupy my mind every hour of every day. While in airport limbo, I don't have a life and that feels good to me. I'm always ready for a break from life. 

So, sure: delayed flight, airport dinner, book to read.  No problem. Can I go so far as to call being peacefully stuck in an airport meditative? Maybe, but I doubt anyone would buy it.

UPDATE 12/29/15: I ended up leaving Houston on a Chicago-bound flight 22 hours later than originally scheduled. I spent the night in Houston International Airport, which wasn't as much fun as a dinner party with my friends, but I don't mind things that pull me out of my usual habits. It was an interesting experience, and I knew all along that I'd eventually get back to my Rogers Park apartment; it wasn't like being a refugee with no home to go to. Sure enough, after two canceled flights and one flight that boarded three times before it took off, I spent last night in my own bed. Contentment.

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