The whole 2013 shebang came to an end in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the way back from safari. Stuck with a long layover and nothing better to do than absorb the last photons of this trip around the Sun, I looked up at the flare-clouds and stewed in the alien environment of an airport on the other side of the world. The flight home was almost 17 hours long, and took place in sync with the rotation of the Earth, such that we spent the entire time at night. In the darkened cabin, we passed from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day, 2013 to 2014, six or seven times. Stuck between continents, between years, between moments, the warm final spectral fuzz of the Sun lingered in my brainspace.
Up here in the Berkeley Hills, the entire Bay Area stretches out on a clear day. In the distance is Piedmont and the Oakland Airport, but I particularly engage with the sense of scale that the preposterously-steep fire trail adds to the image. There’s a space for humans in the sprawl of the East Bay.
I’ve always abhorred airports. Actual air travel, if dull, is typically calm and uneventful. Airports are Purgatory-on-Earth where stressed travelers worry and fuss and cope with the imminent delay and cancellation of their flights.
Still, if I have to spend time in an airport, Chicago’s Midway is probably my favorite. It has by far and away the best selection of overpriced food (Potbelly’s sandwiches! Pegasus gyros!) and an at least tolerable amount of seating. In its own way, Midway is not entirely un-beautiful.