Now, I’ve always been one for loving watching planes taking off and landing. I could honestly sit for hours at a runway, watching in awe with mouth agape as winged vehicles take off and touch down over and over again. Most definitely one of my much loved leisure activities (while backpacking about SEA I’d make sure to get to each air port in plenty of time so as to see as much action as I could), but not the prime reason I love airports. No.
The prime reason I love airports? The feel good fuzzies of the arrivals double doors.
Love Actually got it spot on with their opening and finishing scenes of the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. I’m going to replace the “Glen Coco” and say, “You go Hugh Grant!” because his prime minister character absolutely hit the screw on the cranium. There is no better place to witness love, joy and happiness than the arrivals.(Well maybe a maternity hospital. Or the back stories on X Factor. Or a number of other places. Let’s go with top 5). (No sod it; number one. Because it absolutely is).
Often I can be quite emotionless in aspects of the heartfelt region. Don’t get me wrong, I love my fam and the fair few friends, but put me in a feeling situation and my instant reaction is often to go numb. Put it down to fight or flight (so fitting in the context of airports don’t you think?), keeping oneself at arm’s length or just being a bit of a bitch, but my ability to detatch leaves me dry eyed. But chuck me in a room of grand kids waiting for their Poppa, parents waiting for their OE-returning offspring or a wife hanging out for her homebound hubby and I’m rendered to a boat without a bung in (I.e., overrun with water).
I highly dislike cliches, so I am sorry to say that such situaions absolutely warm my heart. Yes, they completely lift the spirits. I’m even going to go insofar as to put claim that witnessing some reunions even make me feel all gooey inside. It’s honestly just what love would look like in a real life setting, and it elicits the toastiet, snuggliest most merry-making sensations in even the coldest of observers.
The other day I hustled up to pick up my little cousin Livvy from Auckland Airport. (Bit of a fuck up really; I arrived dead on when her place landed to ensure I’d be forefront as she strode out of customs. With the status of her flight flashing, “Landed” I assumed I’d have plenty of time to take a tinkle and have a fleeting foray at the adjacent mag-book-snack shop. Alas, a few moments too long nose deep in the latest Woman’s Day agonising over photos of newly wed AB Sam Whitelock – whyyyyyyy! He was my number one in the list of hopeful husbands! – meant my prime spot in front of the double doors had been converged upon by a coven of just-landed Brisbanean – is that the term? -teenage touch playing tykes – not in the airport I clarify; their maroon polos declared their sport status. After a good five minutes jostling and sticking in the odd elbow, I got back my prime perch and proceeded to stare intently at the doors so as to not miss Livvy exiting. Unfortunately, during my mosh like situation in trying to get back to the front, Livvy had flown through the doors – figuratively I must specify; the 747 hadn’t barricaded inside; even my crowd-fitting self wouldn’t have missed that – and was searching for me at the back. With my cellular device dead, it wasn’t overly ideal. Luckily she had the notion to look forwards for me – unlike others such as myself – and whipped me out of my hour-long intent door staring by tapping me on the shoulder and declaring her presence. I must say, I felt like a mighty tosser. And it only took a good twenty minutes to walk up and down the carpark searching for Betsy Hay on exit, an acceptable length of time I feel).
Anyway; observing. Honestly, I found myself on the verge and in the midst of tears a good ten times whilst in arrivals. A little three-year-old boy was clambering about the steel barriers excitedly telling all about of the impending arrival of his grandparents, whom he had only ever met on Skype. A middle-aged mum told me of her nerves on meeting her daughter’s boyfriend who she was bringing back for the weekend. An elderly lady clapped her hands as she spoke of her returning sister, on the flight from Nadi that had been processing for a fair forty minutes. The anticipation, the fizzing, the hanging out (literatively and figuratively; that three-year-old was swinging about those barriers) to be reacquainted with loved ones was so touching. And being there for a good while, I witnessed all being reunited.
The three-year-old shrieked and slid beneath the “no entry” sign as soon as his teddy-bear-bearing Nana appeared from behind the sliding doors. The mother wiped away tears as (after her daughter had finally manouvered her suitcase about the side and through the crowd to get to her – why oh why did Auckland Airport take away the red carpet-esque arrival lay out of old?) she clasped her daughter to her chest and awkwardly hugged her possible future son-in-law. The senior Sheila called a, “Toodle hoo!” at her almost identical hunch backed sister, minus the butter yellow Hawiian shirt, olive hued skin and shell stranded necklace. The joy, the full on visible love; it was like someone had put a hot water bottle with a bobbled woollen cover in my belly and proceeded to pluck a dandy tune on the old aeorta chords.
Ever feeling down, dismal or in despair? Go to the arrivals gate at an airport (though perhaps catch the bus; if you’re there for a fair while, you’ll be stung with carparking. Absolute daylight – and twilight, dawn light and no light – burgularly those blasted fares) and pull up a perch and just watch. Promise it’ll reduce you to globbeey goo and procure many a soft hearted smile from the most sullen, surly or sinister.
(Just don’t go to departures by mistake. Your mood will plummet manifold and you’ll leave feeling hella worse than when you arrived). (Which would only become worse once you found out your thirty minute stop cost “$18-and-the-card-slot-isn’t-working-cash-only”).