Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Airport Observations: Humans

Two people in the corner of gate A27 here at the Memphis International Airport are talking, laughing. They both look to be in their 70s. Two people who 40 and 50 years ago never would have spoken, during a time when your skin color absolutely determined who you spoke to at the lunch counter, on the sidewalk, and in the airport. But today, they are friends, for 30 minutes.

In the sunlight beaming through the window, sits a woman, feeble, slow to turn her head when she hears the giggles of the toddler running around behind her. She's patiently awaiting her flight, basking in the sun with her thin white sweater on. Her family awaits in the noisier seating area.

A man, under the age of 50, surprisingly, reclines with feet propped up on his suitcase. Relaxed while he engages in one of my favorite airport activities - people-watching.

Then there are the ones more like me: born in the 80s and 90s, skinny jeans, Toms shoes, skirts with pockets. Our heads are bowed, our eyes are cast down, not in reverence but captivated by the screens in front of us.

We aren't the only ones; we've learned well from the great teachers of our parents' generation, most of whom are also glued to their devices. Checking emails, answering texts, listening to voicemails.

Connected to digital versions of people, missing the flesh and bone humans next to us.

And we wonder why we're hungry for love.