Travel. Specifically through the air. The concept was once glamorous. Full of mink coats, stewardesses (not flight attendants) and those National Geographic ads that proclaim: Alaska! Come here to experience all of America’s vast wilderness! Or: Choose Pan Am, a classy way to travel! I always envision red lipsticked women traveling to Paris to choose their next season’s wardrobe and men with straight ties and slicked hair drinking bourbon reading the newspaper.
Now it’s lines and ropes that I’m convinced are designed to make us all look like idiots: zig-zagging through like rodents in a plastic tubed maze. People double, triple check their inside pocket for the ticket they just felt in the same spot 23 seconds earlier. Airports these days create a sense of worry and urgency so tangible–it’s a potent elixir for explosive behavior that often times becomes activated and expressed at the wrong people.
I am not claiming to be an easy going or calm individual. Somehow though, when I enter an airport I become a more zenned out version of myself. It has been said that my actions can sometime mimic my father’s when I’m walking somewhere; (talk about Travel Mode…Colin will find his gate before he realizes that his family is not with him anymore…he just fucking goes, man. I once told him a story about how a man followed me into the woman’s bathroom when I was connecting flights in London-I was all of 16 and had short hair. I was so frightened that I had no other choice to just turn around and say to the guy: get out of here, you don’t belong here. And he left! Expecting a paternal smirk of pride or something, I was astounded when he said: well look atcha, Mahgrett. He prolly thawt you wir ah boy! Thanks dad. Glad you’re pumped I’m not hacked up somewhere in England.)
In my mind, traveling is like adding salt to food: it enhances who that particular person is and draws out the water, the outer layers of social politeness and strips that person down to the core of their true flavor. Travel mode has two flavors: Asshole and Kind. More often than not, the Asshole flavor rises to the top more so than the Kind…but when the Kind does manage to be spotted, it’s that much more satisfying. Like the random dude that carried two large pieces of luggage all the way to a gate for a single mother with two kids, all the while carrying his own shit. Kind does exist.
Yesterday while checking my luggage I noticed a man that was trying to force his clearly too-big-for the-carry-on-size bag into the example of: if you can’t fit your carry on suitcase in here, it ain’t being no carry on. He was trying to re-arrange shit in his suitcase and his wife, waiting at the counter watching him along with the desk clerk said: Baby, maybe it’s just time to accept it–it’s not joining us, and there are people behind us. It was almost as if she said: bBaby, I know you wanted your son to be a pro athlete, but he has scoliosis–it’s not going to happen. It was a mixture of Kind and Asshole, because the wife was being calm and patient while the husband was just too stubborn and blind. It should also be mentioned that the suitcase in question had written (in masking tape) on the front: Jesus Saves.
There are many more stories from yesterday’s journey to Berlin (one involves a Brooklyn based band called Karizma-5 guys wearing sunglasses on an over night flight sitting around me, as well as a tale of a passive aggressive bitch that got put into her place…)
…but then I’d write for hours…and there is a new nephew to dote over and really really good cheese to eat.
So. Travel Mode. It exists. Hopefully you’re the Kind flavor.