“These places whose outlook matches and legitimates our own, we tend to honour with the term ‘home’. Our homes do not have to offer us permanent occupancy or store our clothes to merit the name. To speak of home in relation to a building is simply to recognise its harmony with our own prized internal song. Home can be an airport or a library, a garden or a motorway diner. Our love of home is in turn an acknowledgement of the degree to which our identity is not self-determined.”
-The Architecture of Happiness,” Alain De Botton
November 23, 2011, Washington, DC: You can see it in people’s expressions. I’m supposed to dread today at the airport. Of all travel days, this is the worst. But you know what? I love the airport on a day like this. Maybe I’ve watched the airport montage in ‘Love, Actually’ one too many times, but the scene at the airport on a busy day like today suits me. I feel like I’m right where I belong.
I’ll admittedly feel differently if I’m still sitting here five hours from now. In fact, we’ve just been told we’re facing an hour delay on the tarmac. But for now at Reagan National with a soft pretzel in hand, all is well. I’ve arrived by Metro to my favorite airport in the country, traveling over a grey Potomac just outside the city for a quick ride to the terminal.
The airport itself is not too big, which means the security line is manageable, even today. Heading out through Terminals B and C, food choices are top notch, while a trip departing from Terminal A means the pickings are slimmer but the atmosphere is endearing, a step back in time through the airport’s olden days.
Here at the airport, I am a part of something larger. I am part of a community of travelers. I am among others like me who also live away from their families. I am among those who answer questions about where they are from with a long list of places as opposed to just one.