Wednesday, April 07, 2010


I am spending two hours at an airport. Thinking about airports and other things. They are, it strikes me, places from which people leave to go elsewhere. But they are also - and this is something not always remarked upon - places where people arrive. Departures and Arrivals.

They are secure places. Safe. And we are made to enter humbly, as if on a pilgrimage. We must wait in the ante chamber, remove our belts and shoes and enter disrobed and in stockinged feet. To 'the Gates'. Gates to where? Anywhere, it seems. (Except Antalya this morning. Because that was cancelled.)

And then, suitably purified, you can buy a Hugo Boss suit Tax Free, in this intermundial space where taxes do not apply. In transit. Are we not, in a very real sense, always in transit? No.

1 comment:

RJR said...

Alain de Botton demands that you take this post down immediately!

Anyway, airports are clearly not safe places but loci of penance and self-abnegation: shuffling forwards clutching our documents, barefoot and disrobed, stripped of our keys, personal phone, and other signifiers of identity, submitting to be groped and questioned by strangers, this is where we atone for our temerity in daring to cross borders, in wanting to be Elsewhere, in yearning .... to fly.