I like airports because I feel perfectly comfortably wandering without a purpose. I always have something I should be doing; a book to finish reading, an essay deadline, emails to write etc. but I never seem to get anything done. Instead I am made aware of waiting as time takes on an almost physical presence.
Airports are spaces of the ‘romantic gaze’; filled with people from foreign lands; wandering the duty free shops or sipping wine in a sky bar. I prefer to be alone in an airport, so I can then adopt a persona of my choice; a journalist from London, a college student from Rhode Island, a son of a wealthy merchant who travels from one city to the next with no purpose but ‘mobility’. I guess people gaze at each other and make assumptions from your style of clothes, your body language, your accent etc. about where you are from and where you are going. I could be from anywhere, and going to anywhere.
I like the time in-between connecting flights, especially at night. Earlier this year I waited for three hours in Omaha airport in Nebraska. It was snowing outside, which was made apparent when the airplanes encircled the runways with their head-lights that revealed the little white flakes. I bought a coffee, called my flat mate in Kansas City, and found a comfortable seat to sit down and watch the snow. I ended up talking to a young woman from Alaska, who was also waiting for a connecting flight to Buffalo, where she would be attending college. The possibilities for meeting people, and yet accepting the short amount of time you spend talking before boarding your flight, is something I enjoy about these transient non-places of travel.