Saturday, November 15, 2008
Songs About Airports III: Where The Hell Is My Fabulous Freedom Institute?
Flew through Dallas on Tuesday, and currently sit in its "Samsung Mobile Center" on my way back to Oberlin. This city, home to J.R. Ewing, Jerry Jones and the Kennedy assasination (and the setting for my favorite documentary, The Thin Blue Line), also offers us the eyesore of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport; like its city's ego, the airport is absurdly over-large, sprawled across several miles of narrow hallways whose dim fluorescence Tuesday night made me feel like I'd stepped back in time, and landed in one of those 70s disaster movies like Airport. The shadowy light, chintzy carpet and plastic seating definitely had a retro charm, but it was also very eerie, as if Dean Martin was about to walk by in a pilot's uniform, or O.J. Simpson might zoom by in a doomed effort to catch a plane.
Making my way through the confusingly marked terminals (pathways to the "ACDE" gates disappear and re-appear like clockwork, an architectural design that only M.C. Escher could love), I finally stumble upon a skyway tram that jolts your body forward as it lurches to its destination (staring out the window, I could hear the Replacements in my head: "She takes the skyway/High above the busy little one-way..."). A clear white light shines through the gigantic picture window next to the impressively epic escalator (Texans do nothing half-sized) that takes me from the tram to terminal A, and I try to absorb as many rays as I can before returning to what I am told is a cold and wet Ohio. When I sit down to type this, I receive an email note telling me that my brother-in-law is safely back from his tour of duty overseas (he'd been stranded in an airport two nights ago, got to Bangor, then finally returned home yesterday). I'd seen other soldiers in camouflage as I walked through the Dallas airport, and wondered where they were going, whether they were leaving or coming home, how long they would be gone. They always remind me of my brother-in-law, and knowing he is finally home is a relief-filled reminder that even the most annoying airports are also spaces of reunion and joy.