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Shall I Wear My Trousers Rolled.

Traveling, especially by air, is a fairly uncomfortable experience, but the idea of being airborne is great compensation for physical discomfort. The airport itself is a fascinating intersection of anything and everything—literal concourse junctions mirroring the tangible crisscrossing of individual lives. The terminal microcosm facilitates a sort of social experiment. How close can we sit beside someone, not speaking, not knowing who they are, but cramped into the same small space and traveling to the same place? Conversations usually carry in whispers and fragments of a foreign or familiar language punctures the steady murmur of speech. The observant—or perhaps the meticulous—make note of everyone’s luggage collections. I’ve always tried to catalogue and classify the blank-faced traveler sitting before me based on the little flowery carryon or the professional, sleek briefcase. I want to know the history of the single woman sitting in front of me with her arms crossed: why she is traveling alone, what brings her to this particular airport, why she wants to go where I am also going. It’s too simple to believe that our natures compel us to be gossipmongers; I prefer to think of it as an inclination for voyeur. That other person’s life is most fascinating when we see everything but know nothing. Capacity for unrestrained imagination transforms the people at the terminal, the infinite concourses that form an asterisk, and silenced sky and airplanes beyond the floor-length windows into concentric circles of orbit, of which I am the center. It isn’t human egoism that drives this thought, but my tendency to treat physical proximity as intimacy. And this is precisely how I feel sitting in terminal K19, listening to a disembodied female voice calling out names and instructions and watching tiny airplanes, as tiny as the little steel model planes I played with as a child, crossing dangerously close together.

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