Sunday, March 15, 2015

Arrival and Departure Times

On one or two occasions still within memory, you waited at piers for a boat, carrying a person you were to meet.  On two others, you were at the closet thing to a dock, a ferry terminal.  You have in turn been awaited at a ferry terminal, bringing you from a scenic and romantic remove to the ferry terminus in Seattle.

You have waited in airports for late and on time arrivals, always with a particular person in mind.  As well, you've waited in airports for connecting flights.  Of course you've arrived in airports where you were awaited, but as well in airports where you'd never been before and where no one anticipated much less cared about your arrival.

Three train stations, the spectacular Los Angeles Terminal, a tribute to Depression Era architecture, the stylized Spanish decor of Santa Barbara, and the down-at-the-heels-but-proud Lamy, New Mexico, whence D.H. Lawrence and Freda debarked to begin their stay.  Over the years, you began a hobby of photographing small train stations, mostly those encountered during your perambulations in and about California.  

Somewhere among your rescued things--matter saved from a lifetime of accumulation and as well survivor of your abrupt departure from 652 Hot Springs Road, there is an album of your photos, including the stations at Tucson, Albuquerque, and, if memory still serves, Grand Central Station, New York.  Of these train stations, the one in Lamy is your favored, no doubt because of your discovery, after taking photos there, of the Lawrence connection.

Among persons you know, you've probably not been in a significant number of airports.  Suffice it then to say there have been about a hundred of various sizes, conditions, and locations, including the major ones of LAX, JFK, O'Hare, SFO, Denver, Dallas, Dulles, and Hartfield in Atlanta.  Of these idiosyncratic locales, far and away your favorite is Heathrow.  If ever there were an airport you'd yearn to return to, that airport would be Heathrow, where you were not awaited, although you were, in fact, delighted.  

In fond memory, the one airport you were most apt to have your arrival awaited or your departure accompanied was SFO, and the then presence of a commuter airline, switching from prop-driven to jet planes, PSA, Pacific Southwest Airlines.  The adjective commuter applied to airline suggests the frequent use of PSA, which served an airport a few miles from where you lived among the Hollywood Hills.  Frequent use has its suggestions of friendship and the broad sweep of activities and rituals in place among a group of friends.  Thus the important injection of nostalgia into this reflection.

Of a different kind of fondness, the time you boarded a buss at the Greyhound Station in Hollywood, which left you at the border at Ciudad Juarez, whereupon you boarded another bus destined to arrived in Mexico City. On this later bus, you learned basic aspects of being a good traveler that you'd not have imagined before.  Your willingness to change your seat in order to allow a fellow traveler to occupy the same row as his goat was the direct cause of you being introduced to a donut-like delicacy known as churros.

This background of destinations, waiting for, being awaited, catching connecting flights, and being delighted also contains the more exotic one of being awaited at a dock in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, motored out to a waiting pontoon aircraft, then flown to Port Townsend, Washington.  All this in support of your awareness of waiting for arrival or departure or some chain of connective subsequent behavior.

You could well have begun these notes with the simple observation of how you are no stranger to arrival-related waiting.  Given your tendencies to elaborate on such things, you'd move on to the effects on you of the waiting.  Did you have something to read with you?  Did you wander about, people watching?  Did you, as you did for the sheer pleasure of it once at Logan Airport, buy a live lobster to bring home to California with you?

The trick to waiting, whether it is for a person, persons, connecting flights, or departure times, resides in the sense of being in control of some of your destiny and, thus, having the ability to cause something to happen.  Obviously buying a lobster was such a device, but how many times can you buy a lobster at an airport without the sense of falling into habitual behavior?

However they may wish to convey the opposite impression, writers know what it is to wait for the arrival of the day's work, in some cases the analogy to a connecting flight being in place because the day''s work is only a small part of a larger venture.  Or, if you will, trip.

You have experience with urgent needs to get to points of departure before your scheduled conveyance departs.  These urgencies make for good comparisons with the times you've had to wait, find things to do between connecting flights and, as this demonstrates, between metaphors.

The fact is, you've chosen to be a traveler of sorts, of the sort who  has come to understand that not all departures leave on time nor indeed are able to achieve their destination under any circumstances.

You know this much:  it is good to have some form of notebook with you, some writing implement that does not leak, something to read, something to think about, some awareness of the importance of patience, yet not so much patience that you fall off the radar into passivity.

You'd like to think of yourself as polar to troublesome passengers and, for that matter, troublesome writers for you have in your lifetime seen both and wish to distance yourself from the potential of becoming either.

As things go, you have some idea of what you're to work on tomorrow, but when the time comes, you can only hope it will arrive at the earliest possible moment.

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