On the Way To Narita

A guy with legs like bowling pins, visible because he is wearing shorts despite this being the dead of winter, just entered the lounge wheeling a black suitcase and holding in his other hand a guitar in a gray case.  He has on a cap with a small brim and is sporting a closely cropped blond beard.

Airports, as Eno noted, have a specific ambience that exists globally, and the quiet punctuated by cell phone conversations and chance encounters–I just heard, “Nice to meet ya!”–make the separation from home and the the next place a dreamy, poetic state.  Kleinzahler messed with this beautifully in a long essay in the LRB a few years back about feeling out of place, jet lagged when visiting his elderly parents in the Jersey palisades.

Me, I’m trying to slow things down, establish focus, not think about the past or future.  And that’s really what airports can provide: A real setting that isn’t here and isn’t there.

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