There’s really only one way to get here, folks. Forget trains, automobiles and even boats (except for freight) people come to Hawaii through the airport. This is why I have a special warm fuzzy for the movie Love Actually- it begins and ends with an airport, the scene of so many happy arrivals and tearful goodbyes, a rhythm that’s been a backbeat in my life since I was just months old and arrived at Honolulu Airport in a wicker basket carried by hippie parents.
Things have changed a lot at the airport. There’s TSA now, and preprinted preconfirmed boarding passes, and no one gets to walk you to the gate or greet you arriving—a loss I particularly mourn as today I unloaded my son, his precious armor and computers on the sidewalk of our local airport for his departure for a new life in the Mainland. We hugged and I succeeded in not crying, watched by a smiling security dude as I took this picture:
Thinking of how this guy’s day is filled with watching the arriving leis and departing hugs I reflected how moving TO Hawaii and moving AWAY FROM Hawaii, is just not quite like anywhere else—we must shave the possessions down to just what can be carried on that metal tube through the sky, and even nearby on another island, there’s no hopping in a car, train or bus to go do a quick visit.
It feels much more final because of this, an ending and a beginning marked by a passage through agriculture screeners and security, up an escalator and onto a plane that is bound to open its doors to a very different place. It’s both a metaphor and a reality we who live here experience as a regular part of our lives.
Because almost everything is somewhere else in terms of education and opportunities, most of our young people move away, and so few come back. That’s another side effect of our isolation and unbalanced service economy, and a subject for another day.
For now, airports. I love them.
How about you?
In a previous role at work, I travelled quite a bit, so I spent a lot of hours waiting in airports, watching people, preparing for meetings, reading, walking around to stretch my legs in between flights, etc.
I always loved it. Airports are such microcosms where as a visitor and traveller you’re always an outsider, allowed a peek into other people’s daily lives.
Have you ever read Ursula K. Le Guin’s Changing Planes?
Alas, no. But I will look for it!
I used to love airports, ‘cos you’re going away or coming home, or just to be there to watch the planes take off and land. But not any more. Now it’s a parade through mistrustful guards and surveillance equipment. I refer you to my recent adventure at Frankfurt. http://gretavanderrol.com/2011/06/14/sometimes-a-person-can-be-excused-for-being-anti-everybody/
Sometimes I think the terrorists have already won.
Yes. I agree.
I’ve often thought the same but hadn’t put it into words like you did.