Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gate 21

As I write this, I’m finishing off an East Coast business trip for the first time.  It’s been a while since I’ve been to New England – since I visited New York in the summer of 2004 with my family.  Although, I’m not sure I consider New York part of New England.  As everyone who has been on a business trip (or any kind of trip) knows, they usually start and end at an airport – a place of business and busyness.  But the hustle and bustle of the security checkpoints is offset by the atmosphere of the gates - waiting.

Gate 21 – The dude sitting across from me in Timberlands bobbing his head to the music emanating from his oversized headphones.  The glasses-clad student next to him reading an unknown book on his Kindle.  The three men, likely ticketed for first class, exchanging handshakes and a casual laugh in their oxfords and ties.  The old woman, whose wrinkles decorate her face like rings on a tree, wistfully looking out the window.  The redheaded girl with the oversized watch.  The young professional finishing off a business trip typing notes on his iPhone for a future blog entry.

Although we will probably never interact, minus the occasional eye contact or friendly smile to break the eye contact, at this moment we all have something in common. All are waiting for the same thing – Flight 483.  Whether the destination is home, or as far away from home as possible, we are all in the same place, at the same time, for the only time ever.  Waiting.  Each with different circles of friends - people I'll most likely never meet.  Different pasts, different thoughts, and different dreams of the future.  Completely different, but our separate worlds collide in this place. For an hour or so, we are neighbors.  The reflection of the setting sun from the recently polished walkway floors is illuminating all our activities.  The sounds of rolling luggage, overhead jet engines, and women's heels on the aforementioned floor fill our ears.  We are all waiting.  Calmly waiting in stark contrast to the business and busyness of the airport around us.  Calmly waiting at Gate 21.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  At this time we will begin the boarding process for United Airlines flight 483 to Chicago.”

Restart the busyness.