Travel: Departure and Promise

20130721-204622.jpgAt 4:45 a.m., with buzzing or beeping ripping the middle of the night right down the seam, the definition of travel is this: a series of planned sleep, diet, and equilibrium interruptions necessary to get from Point A to Point B. And what’s the point?

The world is sliced into time zones like a giant apple. But that’s just renaming time from place to place so we can make some sense of the way our planet spins in relation to the sun. Time itself refuses to be renamed; it simply is. And so airplanes need to go certain places no matter how sleepy we all are. When the limo shows up at 5:30, off I go.

When is the last time you saw anyone in a truly good mood at an airport? I mean inside the secured zone. There are plenty of happy, reunited people outside it. But starting with the security line, the best you can hope for is relief. The airline industry has succeeded so completely in getting us to expect annoyance that when it doesn’t happen, we feel like it’s karma coming home. We must have done something to deserve this, to have the meteor miss us.

They are the most crowded and yet loneliest places in the world. Hordes of the unwilling, legions of the unknowing, mill and mull and molder. The unwilling wait stoically; the unknowing appear to believe against all evidence that they are not in a public place, but rather in their own little pocket of privacy. They become indignant at any accommodation they must make for the 10,000 or so others who share their situation. Block an entire store entrance to stand and converse? Sure. Monopolize an agent’s time with questions already answered by prominent signage? Why not? No one else is here.

So…what is the point? The other end, of course. Sunday it was Vancouver’s Gastown district to meet with a friend and business associate for beers and a chat. And it’s here, at the destination, that the definition of travel changes to a loosely planned feast for the senses, a celebration of the different, a slice of the world’s joy instead just its time.

As long as that’s the payoff, I’ll handle the getting there part.

Copyright 2013 Adam Barr


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