Sitting in the boarding lounge before a trip to Haiti. We are on travel time. Not real time. A portal to elsewhere.
Flight crew saunters in
… to wait in the no-mans-land between the gate agents desk and the security doors. Captains and first officers brightly chat as they carry and ferry Starbucks to flocks of flight attendants who read People magazine.
Wheelchair porters stand ready.
… they chat quietly with one another until it comes time to push a passenger forward. Then the appropriate charm or chill will surface according to some unknown internal barometer of passenger patience.
Gate agents try to create order of the mass of people.
… continue calls for various passengers to approach. Facing down the horde who lie in wait for the hint of upgrade. The list grows ever longer. Super elite. Elite. Sapphire. Gold. First. Business. Emergency row. Plus. Group one. The crush forward. Older annoyed passengers exclaim ‘we are all getting on the plane – no use in rushing to sit down!‘
STM team members wear matching tshirts.
… comic sans font proclaim team name and English scripture references. The groups resting on and around luggage piles. Members smile and chat as middle aged men share the finer points of culture or travel advice back and forth with one another as Haitians listen on.
Young Aid workers wearing jeans and fashionable scarves
… sit hunched over macbook pros. Older more jaded NGO workers wearing wrinkled quick dry long sleeves sit hunched over beaten-up windows machines with stickers of their aid agency stuck on the back. Both read from spreadsheets, graphs and endless email.
Black men, affable and portly in clerical collars
… walk by with cheap luggage. smiling at everyone and no one alike, slightly baffled at the intricacies of the airport.
Mixed race couples with children
…sit together even as they are casually separated by various I-devices. Familiar with the travel time routine they amble forward at the call for business class passengers.
White women with Haitian babies held protective and close.
… If you catch their eye they hold your gaze a little too long. Waiting and willing you to ask them a question.
Business men in blazers on cel phones.
Those with Bluetooth gadgets in their ear at some point in the call announcing the fact that they are in an airport, credentials as an international traveller appropriately noted, they continue with the more banal news of collegial deadline and meeting – the gossip of the office.
The modern backpacker
… hipsters rest with their girlfriends. Sharing screens and earbuds. Carry on luggage artfully aged in vegan dyed leathers shunning the convenience of handles and wheels.
… dressed in dark jeans, loud t-shirts and gold chains sport bright red Beats headphones. They point at friends greeting and meeting their way along to the gate.
Then my group is called … who am I on this list?
We are on travel time. Not real time.
Have you ever stood here?