I get plenty of opportunities to drive to the airport and collect the good wife from one of her frequent business trips, typically in the evening hours. The roads are clear at this time, but life at the airport is busy as always. I perfected the timing, watching the airport’s real-time flight updates on my phone, jumping into the car as soon as the aeroplane is shown on approach.
I shall give it five or ten extra minutes the next time, and by that, I mean that I shall leave five or ten minutes earlier.
Why is that, I hear you ask, were you late and made the wife wait?
No. As I said, I perfected my timing. But I quite like being there. It is not the big machines or the hustle and bustle that fascinates me, but the excellent opportunity of looking a large number of people flat and straight in the face, unashamedly day-dreaming about who they might be, where they might come from and going to:
The all-important business traveller, armed with mobile phones, laptop, a serious face of business-like determination and a bottle of duty-free booze.
The stressed-out mum with several children and too many bags and strollers.
The elegant wife whose husband balances an impressive number of bags and suitcases on the trolley.
The lost-looking lady, searching for her friend in the crowds of the arrivals hall.
Tears of joy, of sadness, of loss, of frustration, of relief, or just of exhaustion. Hugs of love, of sympathy, of camaraderie. Steps of determination, tiredness, and uncertainty.
I love watching them all.
- How To Spend Your First 20 Minutes In A New Country(wanderingearl.com)
- Heathrow ordered to stop apologising(independent.co.uk)
- When a foreigner speeds through Heathrow (economist.com)