Words from Dic(tionary)
My first visit to the airport was when I was eighteen years old, flying off to Arizona to retrieve my girlfriend from exile by her parents to a status of once again being my partner and eventually, wife.
The airport was deliciously frightening and glorious at the same time.
It was many years later before I flew in an airplane again. I was twenty-four years old, jetting off to Nashville to work on a musical project with a famous female country songwriter, and I felt like I had the wings of Mercury, surrounded by the gods of Olympus.
Much later I went to airports with my traveling companion to tour the country, sharing from one of my books and cruising through the air with the greatest of ease.
And then came 9/11.
Now, I don’t know exactly what Osama bin Laden envisioned to be the result of his vicious and treacherous plan. Certainly he ended up killing three thousand human souls. But I do feel he also put to death the great American love affair with airports, traveling and zooming through the atmosphere from one destination to another.
For the casualties of 9/11 continue:
- It’s in our economy
- It’s in our mistrust
- It’s in our bungling of foreign affairs
- It is the chip on our shoulder–proclaiming ourselves “great” without providing the goods and services to confirm the assertion
The American airport today has all the appeal of a Middle-Eastern open market on a hot desert day. It is inconvenient, pushy and unapologetic for both its prices and its surroundings.
Because I believe in my country, I think eventually we will grow tired of restrictions, anxiety and succumbing to the whims of a madman who planned our defeat in his cave in Afghanistan.
Bin Laden is dead and buried in the deep blue sea.
Maybe we can muster the courage to make traveling a commercial and private pleasure again instead of a gauntlet of endurance, athletic and patient perseverance.