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life on the road – geekier than thou?

April 20, 2008

It’s Sunday and I’m sitting at Chicago’s O’Hare airport waiting for my plane to board. According to the nice plasma display hanging over my head, we should be boarding in about 10 minutes or so for a flight that leaves in a little over 30. It’s not atypical to find that the plane you’re supposed to board in a little while has yet to arrive, and true to form the attendants have little more than a half-hour to get the plane we’re about to board cleaned up, and all of us on it so we can take to the skies.

I like to travel for the most part. Its the travelling part I don’t like. But I very much enjoy getting to visit new places and old friends. Like others who travel at least fairly regularly, you try to minimize your stay in the airports and on the airplanes paying a few dollars more for direct non-stops whenever possible, and trying to carry everything on. I guess its why I fly out of O’Hare a little more than an hour from home instead of the smaller and more comfortable Milwaukee Mitchell ~ a greater choice of non-stops.

Airports are a place to wait. And wait. Movies that generally take place in airports deal with waiting of some sort. Or huge disasters ~ but we won’t go there. And as a place to wait, its a great place to observe other people who are just waiting. OK, I know that isn’t a new thought.

We all sit and look at the other folks around us trying to avert our gaze when they look back at us. After all we don’t know them. We wonder what is playing over the little white earbuds crammed in their ears – they stare at me with my great big foam cups over my ears of my active noise cancelling headphones. 😉 A few open laptops, many read books, some play games on their cellular phones and will later wish they had saved their batteries before they reach their final destinations. Occasionally you still see someone reading the newspaper.

I’m a jumble of wires and technology – my laptop open, my phone connected to give me broadband and charging off the laptop battery, my headphones plugged into my phone. A compact tripod next to me and my clothes for the week taking up any additional space in the two very small bags that are my laptop case and carry on.

I wonder if I stand out? I kind of hope that I don’t. It’s fun to people watch, and spooky to be watched. Yeah, I would be wireless if this wasn’t an airport and an airplane and nobody would know since all of these devices would pretty much stay in my pocket. I suppose its a catch 22 – but does it indeed make me geekier than thou?

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