By Nate Hromalik
I love airports. This affection does not stem from the bland architecture inside, designed for the purpose of herding travelers through cheap gift shops and greasy food courts. My love of airports exists because of my love of people.
In airports, my focus is not on the fluorescently illuminated drab walls, but rather on the crowds of people bustling past. People of all shapes and sizes, ages and abilities, races and religions, are juxtaposed with the common mission of travel. They all arrive from different embarkations, move in different ways, and go to different destinations; yet they are brought together in at least one place, at one time, in an airport. The opportunity to see all these amazingly different people interact with each other makes airports special, even magical, to me.
Two summers ago, I had such the pleasure of passing through an airport with my family. As we dropped off our bags filled with material possessions, Maya Angelou’s saying came to mind: “You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle lost luggage.” That was the moment I had my own epiphany: you can tell a lot about a person by the way they move in an airport.
I then watched all the different people execute their uniform business in different ways: some walked, some jogged, and some barreled past. I watched as a veteran pack of business suits routinely strolled, a yuppie family of Hawaiian shirts wearily stumbled, and a young couple of Middle Eastern robes amazedly wandered. Yet one person in particular stood out.
He was tall and lanky, swaying as his willow-tree build allowed him. His orange hair tangled down his face into stubble, like moss trying to escape the depths of his soul. His tattered clothes held the appeal of someone who had lived without limits: from his brown jacket to his tan fedora, he looked like something out of a Jason Mraz song.
The way this man moved, breezily, a single knapsack slung over his shoulder, held an air of ease. He was the epitome of carefree. My attention was locked on him in awe.
Then it occurred to me that I was jealous of this man. He defined the proper way to not only handle airports, but life as well. I wanted to shout at everyone to watch this immortal being and learn. Yet they all had planes to catch.
Everyone is in such a hurry to get places; they don’t realize the beauty that surrounds them. People must appreciate life as it comes, and embrace, not stress, life’s delays. They should not only focus on their destinations, but rather appreciate the journey they are on.