It’s one of my favorite movies, especially this time of year, even though I think it has some of the saddest portrayals of real relationship issues in it. But one of the best scenes in the movie is both the start and end when they bookend the airport arrival experience. You know, when all the people walk out and have someone waiting for them and it’s seemingly a tidal wave of occasions?
Last week I got off the plane in Paris, much delayed, past midnight. There was another flight that landed with us, I don’t know from where – not sure that it matters actually… But based on the scene that unfolded, I would venture to guess is was perhaps from Syria or Kurdish parts of Iraq….when the exit gate security doors opened, the lights from all the phones was nearly blinding…there were young girls in full traditional wear with plates of sweets….enough flowers to stock a royal wedding….and families on either side of the barrier. Half landing, the other half waiting.
Even though it was after midnight, there were so many children there, and it was clear that some people were either seeing their children for the first time in a long time, or some, such as grandparents, were meeting for the first time altogether. Literally hundreds of families embracing and crying and laughing… I think whatever problems might have brought such an emotional reunion seems to float away in that arrival hall.
By the time I stop flying next week, I will have had well over a hundred flights this year. I know that there are bigger road warriors out there, but still, when you fly on an average of what works out to be once every three or four days, you stop paying attention so much. It becomes about getting on the plane, off the plane, doing what you came to do and repeating the whole process to get back home. Sometimes you have to see arrival through the eyes of someone else, to recall that flying allows you to come out of the sky and on to the ground, arriving at an entirely new place. And for some, an entirely new life…