It’s time we talk about the airport. That place is outright madness all under one roof. I have been obsessed with performing anthropology (the study of people in groups) in airports for as long as I can remember. Absolutely obsessed with the pandemonium broken down into terminals, and gates, filled with people experiencing their most unadulterated undying emotions. To really drive this point home, I will confess that for my grade 12 English final essay I wrote passionately about the airport, I believe the writing prompt was “overcoming adversity”.
Now there are a few different types of people at the airport. My personal favorite are the families. The only thing you can count on more than disappointment after a haircut, is a fight ensuing during a family outing to the airport! Stakes are high, sleep deprivation, dehydration, anxiety, and deliria are contributing factors. People don’t behave like themselves at the airport (this is my thesis). Teenagers are trying to show off to the other teens in line at customs. Dads are pulling out their best jokes, trying to perpetrate the image of the perfect family. Moms are in an absolutely tizzy, they are just freaking the fuck out and cannot be rationed with. From a bystander position (me) this is amazing to witness!!!! It’s like reality TV but in real life!
Usually, much like other things in life, everything is going fine, until it isn’t. The family in question is able to carry on happily, while fulfilling their individual family roles. Until someone (assumingly the child and/or dad) takes it one step too far. Either a joke gone wrong, a forgotten item, or someone in need of an “attitude adjustment” will strike a cord and cause a confrontation. Now this is the worst position to find oneself in. All eyes are on you. Imagine being in line at customs, or worst yet, the local terminal Starbucks, and being caught in a full blown family fight. It’s like a bad car wreck and nobody can look away. These family feuds generally pose a higher risk than usual fights due to the hazard of ruining the family vacay. If we are being completely honest this is probably only the beginning, another fight will be sure to break out as soon as you are checking into your 4 star all-inclusive in Cabo, and about 12 more are likely to occur in the remainder of your 1-week vacation. The family vacation was doomed from existence. It’s simply an oxymoron.
Now you’re probably wondering where I fit in to all this madness. I haven’t traveled with my family in a few years, thank fucking god. That is always a shit show. But traveling alone is absolute freedom. You have all the power. Everyone wants to BE you. Exempt from all the drama. I personally take a grunge/glamourous approach to airport behaviour. I’m currently sporting ripped boyfriend jeans, a grungy Urban Outfitters grey T, a massive floor length wool cardi, and beachy hair that stanks so bad of dry shampoo, I think I’m losing brain cells. I always hit up Starbucks even though I can’t afford it, I don’t want it, and I don’t need it, but what would be the point of going to the airport if you aren’t going to sit at our gate sippin’ a bux, with a Fiji water peeking out of your bag? (I will surely keep the Fiji bottle and fill it with tap water for the remainder of my trip).
Once I arrive at my gate, I feel a little bit like it’s the first day of school, and I’ve just been assigned my class for the year. These are my peers. The people I will surround myself with throughout my journey to Puerto Vallarta. I become acquainted with them. I start to understand where they fit in to the social dynamic norms of this group. Who are the leaders, the followers, the wanderers. I start to be able to identify their goals. I pick up on their weaknesses. I love them unconditionally, for we are in this together.
I, obviously play the “chill go with the flow girl”. I get randomly selected for a full body pat down? Sure no problem. The barista fucked up my order? No worries. You want to trade seats with me so you can sit with your boyfriend? Absolutely. I am loved.
Happy Flying 😉
*** I would like to apologize for family/gender role stereotyping in this post