on airports: embracing chaos.

Airports are places that—like airplanes—probably instil panic rather than calm in most people—I mean, those TSA announcements about the current threat level isn’t really all that calming. Myself? I love airports. (I don’t love that they’ll charge you $3+ for a bottled drink, but honestly, I went to the University of Winnipeg for a film shoot on Friday and paid, I am not lying, $3.38 for a bottle of Minute Maid Lemonade. A single serving bottle, not a 2 litre. Madness. I’ve gotten that item cheaper in an airport.)

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Swarm informed me awhile back that I had 5 consecutive weeks that I checked in at airports. Then I broke the streak. I love airports, and I will—I hope—break that record one day. I thought I was going to break it after four weeks, and then I went for my Nexus interview. (By the way, I’m super safe, all—Trusted Traveller status right here.)

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The moment I fell in love with airports was probably in Minneapolis, on a 3 hour layover to Orlando—this was years ago, and I remember watching this little girl with her roller bag and a pillow, lining up to board the plane. I remember this girl in a “hugs not drugs” hoodie. I remember writing down these observations somewhere (which is probably why I remember this.)

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I remember my first solo trek through security in 2012, en route to Quebec City. My first solo flight followed shortly after, by about 5 weeks, to San Francisco. On the Quebec City trip I met Cathy, another NAPA member, at the gate, so the flight wasn’t exactly solo. My first solo connection—and international connection at that, in YVR. The conversations I’ve had in airports, only really happen when you’re flying solo (but are easily avoidable, for the most part). Finding super overpriced snacks and refusing to buy them ($7 for a bag of chocolate snack mix? No way.)

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I’ve napped on airport floors (or attempted to), done a nebulizer treatment in the YVR bathroom (when Cali made my lungs hate me), sat in obscure places for a power outlet, gotten lost (and gotten lost with my friends who may be blind but know where they’re going 300 times better than I). I’ve bought over priced snacks, and mock-Lego WestJet planes (thanks, YOW!), surrendered a bottle of iced tea to a TSA agent at LAX (I still haven’t really been to LA), walked in an entire huge circle unnecessarily through security at MSP (and wandered out of security by accident at YYZ). I know airport codes better than phone numbers. I’ve tweeted WestJet en route to YVR at YYC asking what the heck the alarm was that was going off. I’ve confused CATSA security officials coming back inside with Guide Dog Murray, Gerry, and Guide Dog Brody, trying to assure them that no I was fine guiding, and no, we did not need a guide after going outside to relieve the dogs (…I guess being a sighted person with a guide dog in harness is a bit confusing?). I’ve sat on airport floors and reorganized my bag, and arrived too darn early and waited impatiently for flights, or for friends to arrive (a la finding Steve at YVR in 2013). I try to keep my “Inhalers I’ve taken in airports” and “Starbucks drinks I’ve purchased in airports” tally pretty even.

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I love the chaos, the hustle—I love when I can enjoy this without being in a rush (and, when I screw up my gate, I love the rush, too, because it means I’m going places. I don’t, however, love disorganized people in security. Look, if I can seamlessly get through with medical aerosols and a laptop with no delay, people should figure it out, no you cannot take all that cologne through.)

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Thanks, YYZ, for the construction barrier to lean against?

Next to being in the sky, being in an airport is a pretty close second in the list of places I love. The preparation for takeoff, the departure from the arrival…

Whichever way that’s being spun. 

she said planes made her feel like she could get away
[…] i wish i had an airport…

airports, something corporate 

copeland and airplanes

What? Two posts in a week? [And I won’t make this a goals update ‘cause that is boringpants. Although I haven’t ridden the bike this week—confession.] Since it’s becoming evident I will probably never actually complete VEDA or #hawmc or NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo [the last two, I cannot actually stand the names. NaNoWriMo has grown on me a teensy bit but not enough to say I actually don’t hate it] (and, though I will probably try them all again at some point) {bracket},

Untitled

I have to start somewhere, right? Here’s some stuff I wrote on the plane back from Ottawa, fleshed out a bit.
So, let’s talk about Copeland and airplanes.

Imbalance. Unbalance.
Imbalanced. Unbalanced.

Stillness… [while] moving.
Waves. 

I tend to feel most settled in a place where I am unsettled. The preparation for the next adventure is not enough: right now, I’m four weeks back from Montreal and Ottawa, and less than a week back from Toronto.
And despite that, the desire to be in flight again is strong. As much as I want to feel home, I feel unbalanced. Unpredictability, the non-routine of being away, being on the road, feels like home to me. Maybe I can thank ADHD for that, maybe it’s just how I’m wired, maybe it’s the bit of Romani Gypsy in my genes (seriously)–chances are it’s all three.

and it feels like we can’t get out
and it feels like hell

i think i’m safer in an airplane
i think i’m safer [with my lungs full of smoke / if i run through the streets]
i think i’m safer on the jetway
than a world without [hope / peace]

oh, and arms will stretch out when they’ve had enough
oh, when they are tired of holding up us…

–safer in an airplane, copeland 

This imbalance, this unsettled-ness, is a different type of unrest. The only cure is to travel with hundreds of kikometers between your starting porint and your end point, wherever those may be, without touching ground. The flight map that shows you’ve travelled thousands of miles hundreds of feet in the air, all without leaving your seat. The number ticks up. It is in the air that I am settled, a place where many find unrest.

“wandering flushes a glory that fades with arrival.”

–j. a. baker

I put my earphones in and stare out the window. My In the Air playlist and the sky—exactly where I want to be. Sorry to my friends who are my plane neighbours, I am not an in-fight talker. To the strangers who are my plane neighbours, I will engage until those wheels start rolling. After that point, my attention belongs in my head and to the sky.

UntitledThe seatbelt sign is on,
And I am most alive here.
Turbulence,
Matching the imbalance
I feel the other thousands of hours a year when I’m not in the air.
Colours streaking the sky that I can never dream to recreate on paper or even with a camera.
I am alive, free,
myself.

I am these things in a place that so many attribute to chaos. While I’ve engaged in a few discussions about becoming grounded, I think maybe I am most grounded when I am airborne. Embracing chaos. The sky is place that so many worry about the things that can go wrong. That is out of my control, so I might as well remain unfazed.

Cell phone with transmitting modes off. Nothing but me and the moment I’m in and the music (maybe some words flowing from my fingertips, and the cabin service cart). And I need more of these moments, replicated outside of a plane seat. Intentionally.

“cause my mind just can’t stop moving
i think i know why.”

–i’m a sucker for a kind word, copeland