I’ve been travelling around the Southern U.S (New Orleans to Nashville, via many-a-place) for the past week or so, writing a lot, and I would love to share some of the experiences I’ve had up here. However, the obsessive in me wants to keep everything from the trip chronological.
(…Also, I haven’t had the time to type much up yet… there’s a lot of paper to organise first.)
SO, let’s start at the start and see where we go from there. This is a short refrain story I wrote at Terminal 5, before boarding the plane.
Tomb Building at the Terminal
is it me you’re looking for?’
mock sings the barrista.
Vowels stretch across the well-branded chain coffee shop. The shop gives way, lapping over the edge of rows of seats, with the lip of a mock bar looking down across them.
Lines facing each other, back to back, then facing again. Most faces face their phones and food. Some stare straight ahead.
Past the chairs, a brightly lit high street. Complete with the high street varieties of person, playing their characatures. Meandering dwardlers, fast pace swift steppers slide along the slipstream. Couples, children and families clump like pond weed, catching up and setting down passers by. Minor obstacles for the dwardlers and runners. Everyone is covered in bags.
Wheeling, shouldering, hitching, dragging, lifting, sagging, twitching, twisting bags. Backpackers are legs attached to backpacks, bewildered beetles pushing through. Childrens wheelies seek out unsuspecting ankles. Carrier bags, everywhere, for every extra.
‘Is it mee you’re looking for?’
Before boarding those cold, improbable, metal, branded, birds, watching in from a wall of window, people are on edge.
Whiffs of panic, desperation, persperation, rise off bodies and are pumped throughout the port’s air. Staff aren’t flying, just working, so they can see the funny. Giggles come from the bars and stands, not the tables and chairs around them.
We cattle can laugh, but not giggle.
There is a serious business to attend to.
Pharoh’s each, we’re stuffing bags and faces. To embark on a journey over timespace, as many material possessions as possible seem to help.
Who knows what’s waiting on the other side?
Do they have shampoo in New York, Bali, Columbia? Better get some, just in case.
Has everyone got enough food? If the plane doesn’t crash, we could starve to death!
Bags hiding people run manically about, before pausing by a seat. Divested of their human, they are arranged around them in a barrier, a fort, leaving the owner safe to stare at their phone.
We’re flying into unknown. Even for regular travelers, on a repeated trip, the sky is still unknown. Store up, prepare, worry and grasp, then switch into the haze. Eyes set ahead, somewhere. Headphones keep our sound environment small, disconnected. Comforting.
(I was told once that when people can hear music only to themselves, the end is nigh. It hasn’t happened yet.)
A glint catches the corner – pearlescent cat eye rims… I do need some. For the trip.
I may not find a pair in Miami. Well, a good pair…
I’ll be back soon – with something possible more exciting than the temptation of sunglasses (‘IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?’ asked absolutely no one) – so, y’know, hold your breath…