As the friendly skies have become a little more friendly and a little less frightening, many of us have found ourselves again standing in line awaiting TSA approval for our next destination. Like it or not, travel is beginning again. The experience is familiar yet different — like a dream state where our surroundings are as we remembered but with significant incongruencies. Still, to this we will adjust. The burning desire to take the kids to visit the mouse will overwhelm any concerns about unfamiliarity. The notion of a 20-hour car trip seems far more horrifying than whatever awaits in the modern time-of-pandemic airport.
Indeed, most citizen travelers go on their merry way much as they did in the past. Stopping randomly, immediately in front of us in the middle of the hall, as if to say, “I need the attention of you running into me.” The newsstands are open, selling snacks and expensive trinkets for the forgetful or loath-to-shop wanderer who just remembered the missed birthday during their absence.
Notably, the experience all seems a bit more polite. Folks don’t push as much in the lines. Why, we assume, that our pressure will somehow move the queue of 20 in front of us is an eternal mystery. Generally, it only annoys the one person in front of us and moves no one. Airline staff are grateful that we have come back – and that their chosen career might survive this contagion. Airports are not so overrun. But alas, many shops and restaurants did not survive the smaller crowds. Even as every surface is sprayed and ionized, we’ve come to understand that sanitized does not necessarily mean clean and free from dirt! And, the free pretzels are on hold, at least for now. Still, we didn’t have to drive to Florida!