I have always looked with envy on those sitting in the rocking chairs at Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) relaxing and chilling. While I am checking gate and departure times, wondering how fast the security line is moving and even thinking ahead to my next connection, many folks are enjoying the live music being played in the atrium and petting the relaxation dogs who wander by.
Just a few days ago, though, I was picking my wife up at the airport, and I had plenty of time. So I got to sit and watch people coming and going, listen to the music and simply “rock” while others looked on with envy.
Oh, I’ve been to plenty of airports with rocking chairs. They are usually all occupied. But not tonight. Tonight, I had plenty of time, there were plenty of chairs open, and plenty of people to watch.
When I got the text, “Just landed,” I replied, “I’m rockin'”
First leg of our trip may have been the toughest: getting to the Miami airport. A five hour drive south on I-95 is rarely a good time. But today, it didn’t get exciting until the last twenty miles through the heart of the city. We were glad to get through that last pulse-pounding stretch.
I was initially a little concerned about our choice of off-airport long term parking. A little sketchy. But once we pulled in, they took great care of us and got an entertaining ride to the airport that includes some advice on how to stay married a long time: always say “yes” to your wife.
We checked our watches and noticed we had a four hour wait till we boarded our flight. The ticket agents hadn’t even arrived yet. Once the whole group arrives, we were compelled to get in line. Our check in and bag check went smoothly, as did security. A great start to any trip.
Three hours to wait now. Time for lunch. After a bit of wandering, Lisa and I found a nice little sit down place when I had a beer and a remarkably good Beyond Burger, and Lisa a tasty salad with chicken. With airplane food to look forward to over the next twelve hours, it was worth a few bucks to enjoy a nice meal.
Two hours to wait now. I had to write early since I’ll be in the air till tomorrow. Next stop Vienna, then Tel Aviv.
I am sitting at a table near Dunkin Donuts in the Orlando airport and I am invisible. As people come from the gates and head towards the B side of the terminal to get their bags or go to the parking lot, no one notices me.
I am staring right at them. I am staring at the woman wearing pajama bottoms. I am looking right at the man in a turban. I make eye contact with the woman in a tank top and no bra. I look into the eyes of the man with a large dog. A lady limping. A family on their way to Disney. No one sees me. No one sees me looking. All their attention is focused on the signs that lead them to their baggage, ground transportation or a parking garage. I can stare. I can take pictures. I can talk. I can laugh out loud. No one notices.
I am invisible.
I wonder how many times someone has been watching me? Someone I never saw. Someone who was invisible. Did I do something embarrassing? Did they laugh at me? Or did they not even take a second look?