Saturday, August 26, 2006

airport dreams

Woke to dreams of political intrigue played out in the discothèques of a post-war Russia. Dreams of conspiracy and subtle manoeuvring, a crafty wrenching of one man’s life into the lives of others. Not so much a wrenching as it was a tinkering, gentle coercing, a tender coaxing. The difference between working with a tiny set of jeweller’s tools rather than the mammoth wrenches of an airplane mechanic. All of this action set to the vacuous beat of some nameless DJ’s uninspired soundtrack. Little more than Muzak. That background noise transmitted over the telephone to the ears of the on-hold. That filler to take the place of the dead silence of an elevator. That gormless tune played over the inferior speakers of an airport waiting area.

Dear god. I had drifted off, only to awake, once more, to find myself still curled into the tiny, unforgiving, plastic chair of an airport waiting area. Same insipid song playing. Same faceless waitees beside me. Same ache in my back. What is there to say about airports? Nothing that hasn’t been said before, I’m sure. Cold and utilitarian. Sterile, but not. Everything built with functionality in mind while creativity was left by the wayside. Shrines to the uninventive. More a sepulchre, perhaps, for the staleness of one architect’s unimaginings.

An already draining experience is made only more draining by the soul sucking environment one is steeped in while resting in stasis within the purgatory of the airport. Boredom is bloated. Anxiety is augmented. Loneliness amplified. I took a sip of substandard coffee from a cheap paper cup. Leafed through some pages of notes I had been taking before the collapse. Soon found myself out of my chair, clinging desperately to the plastic handset of a payphone. Dialled the number of an ex just for the hell of it.

Two hours more, and I had explored every explorable deplorable inch of that colourless structure. Spelunked through the yawning caverns of the souvenir shops. Reconnoitred the vast stretches of the duty-free stores. Traversed the wilds of the food courts. I was ready to board. And I was ready to be bored on a whole other level - for the wan surroundings of an airport do not even begin to compare with the totally bland interior of an airplane. There, once past the invasive searches and accusing eyes of security, I would be subjected to a higher plane of boredom. Films of yesteryear, screened for our mental safety. Tasteless gin. Poor company.

There, hunched into that polyester clad, stain resistant seat, I would fall asleep to troubling dreams of cursors blinking and untyped pages. Unwritten stories and things I have yet to check off on my ever lengthening to-do list. Subjected to horrifying nightmares of demonic robots giving chase, all glowing, red eyes and sooty, black breath. Forever running and getting caught. No leg room. Screaming babies.

Eyes will open to headache inducing yellow light. Panicked lungs filled with fake, opaque air. The grotesquery of a stewardess’s counterfeit smile. Somewhere, my ears will pick up the soothing manufactured melody of a piece of piped-in Muzak. On the wings of these artificial notes, consciousness will give way to unconsciousness, and the adventure of a clandestine cybernetics smuggling operation played out in the glittering future world of a pre-disaster France. All will be well for awhile. Packed into a steel tube. Hurtling through the blue, blue sky. Going elsewhere. Always elsewhere.

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