A Lifestyle Essay by Moshe C. Bragge, PhD
I Wish the World Were More Like an Airport
An Essay on Lifestyle and Mental Health by Dr. Moshe C. Bragge, PhD
Life is profoundly confusing, stressful, painful. To find a reason to stay alive in a world which is so cruel, callous, chaotic and random can be difficult to say the least. Suicide is the only logical choice for the sane and rational among us. But in spite of all that, we fight with every ounce of strength we have to stay alive. But does life HAVE to be SO difficult, SO challenging?
Moshe C. Bragge
I cherish every opportunity I get to fly in an airplane because it means I’ll get to spend some time in an airport.
As you probably guessed by the title of this essay, I love airports. If I ever have a ticket to fly, I like to arrive 4-6 hours before my flight just to basque in the well-lit glow of the airport’s terminals. I like to savor the experience of being in an airport because it’s so distant from the cruelty of our daily lives. It’s a place where people are kind to one another. A place where there is order, structure. There are no food shortages in the airport, and you don’t run the risk of soiling your clothing as there’s always a bathroom right around the corner. People in airports are able to relax at the comfy seats in the terminal waiting areas. Instead of the existential dread of uncertainty that daily life confronts us with, airports provide us with helpful screens that let us know our flight status. And if that level of comfort was not enough, there are kind employees that work for the airlines stationed at each terminal.
Airports are controlled environments where stress is virtually nonexistent.Moshe C. Bragge, PhD
Crimes don’t happen in airports and when they do happen the criminals are dealt with swiftly. Let’s not forget the diverse array of foods that are available for purchase. Anything you’d ever want to eat is available at airports for a reasonable price. All of my favorite fast food chains are represented in the airports of today; from Burger King to McDonalds all the way to Dunkin Donuts and beyond.
(Speaking of Beyond, I highly recommend the Dunkin Donuts Beyond Sausage Breakfast Melt if you’re in the mood for a healthy and meat-free treat).Moshe C. Bragge, PhD
Not to mention that many of today’s airports have great shopping opportunities available. At the Philadelphia International Airport there’s a Gap for clothing purchases. If you’re flying to a funeral or wedding you can buy the formal attire of your choosing without a problem right in the airport without having to think about packing a pesky suitcase.
Are you a bookworm? Literally every airport is armed with a bookstore. Find a great tome that’s just right for you and snuggle up with it during or before your flight. For those of you who like to relax with an adult beverage (alcohol), all airports have wonderful bars that carry great liquors and beers. I don’t drink, but I often like to sit in the airport bars just to watch others drink. It always strikes me that the travelers in airports are far less rowdy than the riff raff that hang out in bars in the ‘real world.’ They seem contented, mild mannered, controlled.
Life is a journey, not a destination.Moshe. C. Bragge, PhD
Why can’t we do something to make the real world as structured, safe and pleasant as an airport? Why can’t every bathroom be as clean as an airport bathroom? What is preventing us from experiencing this utopia of structure and functionally? Airports dangle the forbidden fruit before our eyes. “Look,” the airport says, “the happiness you’ve always dreamed of DOES exist.” But why only in the few hours of waiting for domestic or international flights do we get to experience euphoria? Why do train stations still reek of urine, while airports are spiffy and clean as a whistle? If a bus stop could be even 1/20th of what any airport is, I’d ride the bus every day.
The fact is that we have to do our darndest to bring structure and order to our lives in order to make our daily experience more comparable to living inside an airport. This means cleaning your bathroom constantly, petitioning for fast food chains to open up in your neighborhood, eradicating problematic friendships from your life and having an ever present will to go on a great adventure. When I speak of adventure, I don’t refer to a flight to Ft. Lauderdale, FL or Dallas, TX. No, I refer to the adventure of life. Life is a journey, not a destination. So take a cue from your local airport and do your damndest to make your journey more comfortable.