I can no longer claim to not be on holidays. I’m here in the airport, waiting at the gate for boarding. That familiar travel-zing of anticipation. Possibility and future feels so present; I really like airports. That’s a statement that garners exclamations of disbelief from most people. I guess there’s an association with queues and bureaucracy and stress and time-panic. That’s not my experience though.
There’s two things that happen for me when travelling – and it happens a bit with buses and trains too, but it’s really particular to airports:
1) There’s an automatic and immediate relief from all of the daily worries that I carry with me. I’m travelling, I’m going to be waiting for long periods, and inside an aeroplane for long periods. There’s nothing I can do about anything on my unending to-do lists, and so there’s no point in worrying about it. Of course, now that we’re all wired up ’til the moment of take-off and oftentimes after as well, and with the ability to potentially carry work with me, you might think that pleasure would have been eroded. I don’t know why it hasn’t been. Maybe it’s because it just got so deeply ingrained in me, that sense of ease and abdication from responsibility for the duration of travel. I did put myself under a bit of pressure to clear everything from my plate and do the packing worriage and planning in the days before. In any case, airports are a bit like valium to me. (Most of the time. I’m not saying there aren’t exceptions.)
2) The second thing is the sense of freedom and possibility. Travel makes me feel excited about the world. I want to see things at my destination. It usually gives me a chance to look at myself and think about the person I want to be internally as ell as the person I present to the outside world. I enjoy people-watching, and airports give me a chance to indulge that. I also enjoy self-watching, and the quiet waiting time in airports gives me the chance to do a little observing of myself as if from the outside.
I wonder if things will change once flying with the children. We’ve yet to take them on a flight. We’ve been talking about potentially travelling to France next year, but that would be on the ferry (boats trigger these feelings too – and without the downside of the fear of actual flying I experience). Airports have such strict rules and regulations, it might be difficult and stressful trying to contain two impulsive young boys. But in all likelihood they’ll be at least 6 by the time we’d go on a plane with them. That (I hope) will be old enough to experience the excitement of travel without getting overwhelmed by the emotion and spiralling out of control. In fact, I’m hopeful that travel with them will just enhance my own pleasures of possibility and observation as I get to see things through their eyes as well as my own.
And now I want to talk again about alcohol. Is this blog a bit one note? Well, I set it up with the intent of using it as a tool to help extract myself from alcohol’s claws. It’s definitely expanded beyond that, but I still want to use it to talk about and observe my own impulses, how society behaves, notice my past behaviour and be curious about it. Why? I think it keeps me safe – through honesty. The honest fact is that I don’t want or need alcohol in my life. However, through habit, society, false imagery – whatever – I often think I want or need it. Writing here gives me the opportunity to explore what’s really true for myself. Not a brainwashing convincing of myself of things that aren’t true, but actually undoing some of the habitual brainwashing that’s already taken place for me.
Traditionally, and certainly since reaching adulthood, travel – particularly airport travel – has meant drinking. For whatever reason, maybe time differences, maybe wanting to enhance a “devil-may-care” holiday feeling, travelling has always triggered me to want to have a drink. Especially “naughtily” in the morning. I’ve felt really conscious of that tradition for myself, and it’s not like it hasn’t occurred to me, sitting here at the gate that’s right outside the airport pub. But I’m pretty okay with it. See the paragraph above.
This is going to be my first adult airplane trip without a drink, I think.
I’m looking forward to it.
Canada, and brother and new-brother, here I come!