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Ghosts, Graveyards and Cypress Knees

Crop Circles; and other signs of returning home

USA | Sunday, 21 June 2015 | Views [317]

I wonder how many of the TSA agents are just having a really bad day.  Things like that plague me; how often it is that human emotional turmoil interferes with the mundane tasks that may or may not have occasionally drastic consequences.  I’m told that this show before me - a sea of uniforms and waves of beeping - if for my own protection; but each checkpoint I am inspected and scanned in a manner that leaves me feel stripped away and vulnerable.  Life goes on, just as magnificently horrific, and I imagine that this whole facade is just a way to remind us about the ever running lottery system the fates have ticking away over our heads.  As if any of us could forget how random the distribution of privilege and disaster can be in this life.

I take a step forward, clutching my passport and boarding passes at the ready; anxious about seeming unprepared.  Two boys, I guess twelve years old, are in line in front of me.  The taller one shares his earbud with his smaller, orange clad companion and their brows furrow with the seriousness of the melodies streaming forth.  The head bob and murmur lyrics I can’t understand under their breathe, until they realize that I am listening and they straighten and cease.  The moment has passed, I smile.
Beep. Glance.  Stamp.  Step forward.
There was a time, when I used to run across the red carpets here into the arms of my relatives returning from some sparkling tourist brochure of a vacation.  My childhood and the Home Alone movies taught me that running was the speed at which one should travel through an airport.  The awkward line shuffle feels so defeating, so out of sync with the up-tempo pop music piped in to drown out the grumbling. 
I step onto the Monorail - Disney’s first ride! - that connects me to my terminal, and I watch the sunrise through the glass.  Condensation builds on the inside of the storm windows and I remember how much I won’t miss being braising myself in the Florida summer.  Each time I come back here, the swampy heat engulfs me in a hug that is immediately nostalgic and intoxicating until it is transmuted into the smothering fuel that feeds my escape back to western mountain coastlines.
The doors breathe open and the rushing air pulls me from the transit tube.  There is a scuffed Mickey Mouse sticker on the window that some underpaid airport worker half-heartedly tried to remove - now Mickey sports a slash mark across his ears, but the symbol of childhood magic smiles through the disfigurement.
My seat on the plane is by the window, and I wonder why anyone would ever choose a looking glass to their potential demise.  I pull the blind mostly closed, and suck my frame back into the recesses of my hoodie.  The psychological price I pay for my love of travel is my fear of flying, and I peek through the sliver of visibility in the window to give another paranoid glance over the wings for signs of rusted metal or gremlins.  The pressure of take-off sinks me into the seat and I imagine my body being pressed flat against the tarmac and watching the plane lift off without me.  This image is disrupted by the sounds of a crying child - having eardrums in the clouds is not always a good time.  I wonder how many people on this plane are leaving home or returning; I listen for hints of Hippy in the tongues and murmurs around me and listen to the dialect clashing with the peculiar combination of southern drawl and Latina staccato that make up the Florida tongues.  I wonder which side my words fall on now; having been so long since I’ve moved.
The ground flows by lazily, even though I am moving faster than I can really comprehend.  The circles of industrial agriculture glare up at me, a patchwork of monoculture bandages on a shuddering ecosystem.  I imagine aliens reading these crop circles and being thoroughly confused at our haphazard message - it is so hard, after all to believe that anything so grand and particular could be totally random.  Then again, perhaps random is just what the viewer experiences when looking at signs that aren’t made for them.

Tags: airports, alien, crop circles, disney, home, orlando, planes, seattle, tsa, west coast

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