It was around 10:00PM last night and I was at ATL Airport picking up the outrageousely hot– Mrs. Abeerforbreakfast. I’m a pro at the whole airport thing. In my previous corporate suck-the-life-out-of-me position, I traveled 45 weeks of the year and logged nearly 100,000 air miles. I traveled so much that I never noticed what was going on at the airport. Airports are the most bi-polar places on earth!
Which do you prefer, happy or sad? Let’s start with sad. Go to the South Terminal and find a place to sit near the Security Gates that lead to All Terminals. Here you’ll witness medium sadness to gut-wrenchingly sad scenes as goodbyes are exchanged. Mothers kissing husbands going off to business. Parents kissing kids going off to college. Mothers, Fathers and young wives, sisters, brothers and friends kissing young men going off to war.
Here’s unfiltered, raw emotion. Outpourings of love. Tears flowing, snotty runny noses and long hard hugs right there in the airport right in front of everybody. You’re witnessing the temporary loss of a loved one and the pain associated with it. The long embrace, the outstretched hand…eye contact until they pass through security and disappear down the escalator into the crowd.
A loved one gone. The long, lonely walk back to the car. The emptier house. Yes, next to a funeral home, the airport is the saddest place. Mass sadness on display 24/7.
Happy! Yes sirreee Bob! You didn’t really think I’d leave you with that downer did you? For happy, go to Arriving Flights Waiting Area.
There you’ll see the hard core happiness seekers. I’m not talking about curb-side love. These are the die-hards that really missed someone. They parked, made their way inside, navigated through mostly unfamiliar territory and braved the crowds to greet someone they love as soon as they possibly could. Parents greeting their kids coming home from college, wives greeting their husbands coming home from a business trip and Fathers, Mothers, sisters, brothers and young wives greeting their soldier coming home from war.
Some bring signs, some bring flowers and some just have their hugs, kisses and love. The loved ones wait eager to show just exactly how much their loved one was missed. Tears, hard hugs, snotty-runny noses and smiles are delivered right there in the airport in front of everybody. Yes, this is the happiest place in the world. This is the place where I effortlessly sorted through thousands of faces and found the one I care about most–the impossibly hot Mrs. Abeerforbreakfast. We hugged, smiled and teared up when we saw each other. Unbridled happiness for all the world to see.
These extreme bipolar emotions take place within 50 yards of one another at the airport. Extreme sadness and extreme happiness, caused by the absence of someone we love.
Given that air travel is the safest mode of travel, it makes me pause to reflect on something a little more ordinary. Maybe we should show this same outpouring of love and affection whenever someone leaves our house or arrives home safely after traveling in a car.