This is a copy of something I wrote while waiting in the Atlanta airport. Preemptive apologies for anything offensive, but I always promise to be honest and this post is certainly that.
The Atlanta airport seems to be unfinished. Pollack-esque black and white spattered plastic countertops in the bathrooms are surprisingly comforting in their disorganization. Clean toilets and good door locks make shitting comfortable. You can always judge an airport by its bathrooms and this airport has nice bathrooms, but here on the E-Concourse the sheetrock plaster marks make the place appear under construction. Baseboards are red plywood, the manufacturer’s stamp still showing. Power outlets are grimy and cracked from age, testifying to a recycling effort that is depressingly uncommon in construction like this. Maybe Atlanta has something figured out.
But there is still the same line-pattern carpets at the gates, the strictly microwave food courts, the bookstore labeled “Simply Books” that has a line snaking from the espresso machine inside. Lines are everywhere, perhaps because so many flights have been canceled. Thankfully, mine is still on time, the departure set five hours from now. That could change however.
Inconspicuous snowflakes swirl in jet exhaust while traffic controllers stare bewildered into the seamless grey above. After all, this is Atlanta not Seattle, and although this weather would not garner second glances up north, here it causes canceled flights, delays, mayhem. Caution lights flash migraine signals to impatient baggage tossers who carelessly manhandle identical roller bags onto conveyor belts, anxious to get back inside where it is warm. Travelers of sundry shape and mentality consume escalators and accelerated walkways, pulsing as veins pulse when the body senses a cut: frantic. Everyone has the same goal: to get on a plane that is flying somewhere. The people barely seem to care where they are going, just that they are going, that eventually they will get where they are going so that this messy ordeal can be over.
Right now, I am of the same mentality. My nose is struggling against a river of mucus so ceaseless that it is bound to attract settlers to its fertile, beakish shores. New civilizations may spring up and, judging from the abundance of easily domesticable animals and grain, these civilizations will likely progress rapidly, perhaps even producing their own airport soon, or whatever the equivalent is for nasal bacteria. The point is that I am sick and it is the first time I have been sick in months. Can it be a coincidence that this rare sickness has hit me a day or two before the most important trip of my life?
Perhaps. More likely, it’s a result of the unprecedented amount of stress that I have been experiencing in preparation for these grand adventures, anxiety that did not dissipate, like I thought it might, once I boarded the plane and finally started the trip.
Whatever pre-trip, anticipatory anxiety I felt has been replaced in equal measure by travel stress, an inescapable bug that pesters me now incessantly. Indeed, my body is reacting to this stress in the form of shoulder soreness and a dire case of the snivels.
Now, as I write this, I am also growing hungry, but as usual, there is a disgusting paucity of quality nourishment available here. I guess I will have to bite the burger, so to speak, and try to find a patty that isn’t square.
Besides the complaints expressed above, everything is going great.
Normally, I would not post something so pessimistic, but thankfully it will be followed quickly by a much more uplifting entry.