Requiem for an Airport.
You just want the flight to leave on time. Oh god, let the flight leave on time.
They’re simple wishes, but they take on many dimensions when you fly all the time. You asked for this: travel is a big part of the job. You land in Ningbo. You fly out of Pudong. You land in Singapore. You wake up in Hong Kong. You return to Beijing International. The Air China counter host greets you with ’Back again?’ You smile. You think about Edward Norton in Fight Club.
Fundamentally, you can’t complain: it’s pretty awesome. You know where to get an English magazine, a cold beer and an upgrade in 25+ airports in Asia, and you rack up points that make Star Alliance staff pretend they give a shit (still not gold, but by Christmas). You know the ins and outs of 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier city hubs. You’ve got a lot of stamps in your passport (soon to run out of pages).
But then again, you get the down times.
The brutal frustration when you miss a flight after 10 on time, but this is the one that gets you home. You land 9 hours late. You have missed connecting flights, and slept on benches because the lounges and hotel are full. Tough shit, be a man. Still sucks.
You miss your flight back to Beijing, and you end up getting 2 hours sleep and pitching as a zombie. Not cool. You lose: not your fault, but still. The blood still boils.
Worse is tonight: you say goodbye to her, you get ripped in half, and then you need to pull it together for 4 more hours until you, too, leave. Thank god Changi knows what they are doing. Another Tiger thanks, and yes, I’d love you to mind my bag before I lose it. Still hurts, but thank god soon the airport will just be for work. You don’t want anymore airport goodbyes. She’s worth too much for this.
The Hard Rock Cafe in Changi is playing ‘Journey - Live in Houston’. The irony of ‘Journey’ playing in a transit bar is far from the minds of the staff. But you know what? Anyway you want it, that’s the way you need it. Truer words have rarely been spoken.