Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Perfect Place

Last Saturday my flight got in to Indianapolis about 4 hours before Aubrey's flight did, so I had some time to kill. Fortunately for me, I was in the airport. And if you have time to kill, there's almost no better place to be than in an airport.

It was lunchtime so I started with a trip to TGI Fridays. I love eating at airport restaurants. I feel important, because I'm in the airport, so clearly I'm going somewhere. I like the food, a cheeseburger and fries did the trick. I like the feeling of being at peace while all kinds of people are rushing places all around me. I got a great table by a window so I could eat my cheeseburger, write in my moleskine, and watch the snow fluffer down on the enormous Indianapolis Colts banner hanging off the side of the terminal.

After lunch I settled in for some more serious people watching. If you're going to watch people, airports are the place to do it. I grabbed a seat behind one of the less busy luggage carousels and chilled for a while. Lots of people on cell phones. Lots of stir crazy kids. A few stir crazy parents yelling at stir crazy kids. A few emotional reunions. One person who sat unnecessarily close to me and asked if they could read a section of the USA Today which was sitting next to me, but wasn't really my paper at all. I said that they could help themselves, although the thought went through my head of saying they could read a section so long as they moved a little further away.

The Indianapolis airport has one of the more miraculous gadgets I have seen. An iPod Vending machine. Yes, a vending machine. All the little pods lined up in their rows inside the machine, waiting to be chosen, when they would then be pushed off the shelf and fall to the bottow where you could reach one. Some of the slots had headphones, and some had fashionable iPod cases. And there was a credit card slot on the outside so you could swipe away.

But no airport activity beats sitting by a window and watching the day-to-day activities of the port carry on below. Airports are like the dream worlds I would design with lego's as a kid. Not only are there the airplanes, but there are all sorts of little vehicles driving around, each with its own specific purpose. One to cart baggage around, and you can add endless trailers to these. One to carry fuel, one to push the planes back, the hydrolic "GateGourmet" truck, which lifts up to plane level, and is a really cool way to get a few peanut bags onto a plane. And then there are all the little roads painted onto the tarmac, most of them with little lights. When you're not riding on a plane or a truck, you're probably standing on a moving sidewalk. Some new airports even incorperate trains, to add to the mechanical allure.

Airports: filled with restaurants, trucks, shops that deal exclusively in magazines and candy, technology vending machines, and sidewalks where you don't even half to walk. It's so obvious that airports were designed by boys with legos. I love them!

(by Jeff)

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