Forced, Yet Welcome, Perspective
I have, and always will, love airports.*
This quirk of mine manifested fully as an Air Canada employee during my undergrad. Fresh off of probation and armed with standby vouchers, you quickly learned that your name may or may not be called to fill an empty seat, and that the price of an insanely cheap flight is time - yours.
So, you learn how to be occupied with large swaths of time.
But, I've come to love this forced perspective. Especially in those early days of middling cell plans (if you even had a cell phone), where else are you cut off from your day-to-day life, yet completely surrounded by every kind of life? It has changed somewhat now, with laptops and WiFi everywhere; my airport time is encroached upon by emails and the temptation to mindlessly doomscroll to pass time. After attending a conference, though, it can still be delicious reflection time.
Usually, I parse information by drawing a picture - arrows flying in every direction, scribbles in a few colours of ink, until the essential points are distilled in a more digestible form. Something that lets you gobble up the information, then find new connections so you can continue to seek out more information. A nerdy Roomba. Bouncing from the pages of my notebook, the airplanes zipping in and out of parking spots outside the window, and the scenes of endless Rockies in my mind, the infographic below emerged.
I used to pay for flights with my time. And now, I find that I don't mind at all when a flight gives me that time back to reflect and create.
*Unless it's being stuck in Air Nova Land, a pitiful extension of Montreal's Trudeau Airport. If you're from the Maritimes, you know what part I'm talking about. The one place to eat; the rows of vintage seating in front of a bank of screens directing you to Saint John, not St. Johns. Time is a flat circle in Air Nova Land.
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Personal blog for Bryn Robinson, PhD. All opinions are my own.