I walked right by this row of pay phones (pay phones!) before realizing how odd it had become to see pay phones reminiscent of the “old days.” I then backed up and snapped this photo, complete with a portion of the Boston skyline painted on the wall above. In my hurry to reach my gate at Logan Airport I almost missed it.
Years ago, pay phones were enclosed in phone booths – with doors that closed – to give the caller some privacy and shelter from the weather when located outdoors. Even when located indoors they were usually set at a distance from each other or in a corner. There is no setup for privacy here. When you think about it, “privacy” is more of an illusion or distant memory (for some of us) in 2022 and has been that way for a while. It’s the odd (and in my opinion…unfortunate) reality of the cell phone internet age.
Today’s RDP defined my day last week (was it only last week?) when I flew from Boston, MA to Washington DC to visit my kids and their families…including one adorable grandson (well, my kids are adorable too…but you know). I had not entered an airport or stepped on a plane since February 2020. Fourteen months ago. I had not been in a crowd of people of any size since then either. I don’t have to tell any of you why. But now I am fully vaccinated and as protected as I’m going to be, so it was time to take that leap.
As a lifelong curious person, I am known for asking questions – lots of questions – but this time there was nobody to answer them ahead of time as I planned this trip (I am also a rabid planner).
Such as… What would it be like at the airport during a pandemic? Would people cooperate and wear masks? Could I check in at the kiosks? What would change about going through security? Would it be crowded on the plane? What if…
First positive sign: the kiosks were working (good news since my home printer was not). Checking in with security meant inserting my driver’s license into a machine where it disappeared for several seconds and then spit back out. The masked agent behind the plexiglass looked straight at me…would you pull down your maskplease? The big reveal lasted only a few seconds, but felt bizarrely like I was being asked an intimate question.
My carryon and I made it through the screening process without incident. All the while I am breathing through a N95 super mask with rubber bands around my head trying not to hyperventilate. Which I had just pulled down for the agent. I wondered…what if?
As I walked to the gate I began to notice changes…
Except for passengers waiting at one gate, there was hardly anybody there. Most restaurants were closed. Coffee kiosks were gone. The bar was closed. This was mid afternoon.
So far it looked similar to the outside world as we know it now. It also sounded similar…muffled…as gate agents gave directions through masks into microphones. The directions for boarding were posted on the information screen as well. Perhaps that was why.
The flight was only about half full…allowing distancing…sort of. Drinks and snacks were handed out. Masks came off to eat and drink. That…I thought to myself…is one good reason why you wait to fly until you’re vaccinated. And then – as a friend of mine once said many years ago – you give it to God or whatever higher being you believe in – at times like these.
The plane arrived in DC on time. I knew my daughter would be arriving soon to pick me up. I figured I had a few minutes to linger in the gate area before leaving to find her in the line of cars outside the terminal.
I noticed how, in DC, passengers apparently don’t need roped off seats.
My daughter would usually text almost there! when she was about to arrive. When I hadn’t heard from her after a few minutes, I decided to make my way out past security anyway. By then most passengers from my flight had left. As I carefully rolled my suitcase past various security guards – paying close attention to where I was walking – a random thought hit me…I wonder if people still come inside to meet passengers anymore...
Which is why clueless me didn’t notice this masked little blonde almost 5 year old until he came close to alarming the security guard…
I will wonder no more…people still DO meet passengers inside the airport. Three of my favorite people in the world were there to surprise me. Daughter. Son. Grandson. I hadn’t hugged them since last August. Far too long.
Four days later I flew home and it was much the same experience. I am, however, already looking forward to returning in June to meet my newborn granddaughter.
During a recent trip home from Washington DC we flew out of Reagan National Airport. The interior of Terminal B caught my eye as I walked from one end to the other before going to the gate. I was intrigued by the amount of artwork and use of the color yellow throughout the architecture. Perhaps for yellow’s calming effect?
Angles…everywhere! At every angle.
I took the first photo at one end of the very long hall looking up at the ceiling.
The second photo…pivoting to the right, facing the windows and blue sky.
I hear it almost everywhere I go – ever since the stores have been decked out for the holidays. The music from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” I do remember the television show – in 1965 – and was entranced by it then. The soundtrack now iconic.
It is also a mood changer.
Last December I arrived on a late flight at Logan Airport. My plane had been delayed. I was tired. Achy from the cramped seat. Walking into the gate waiting area, I heard the Linus and Lucy theme on the musical loop. Vince Guaraldi’s piano playing couldn’t help but make me smile. And relax. What a perfect choice for a busy airport full of travelers from all over the world…shouldering all kinds of burdens. Also tired. Achy. Anxious to get safely…somewhere.
I also hear this song in the grocery store. The local card store. In the mall.
I never get tired of it.
No matter what time of year it is.