My sweetie has been on a business trip for the past two weeks – and today, he came home. Hooray!
His flight was due to land at 3:30 pm; but we live a fair distance from the airport, and once 3 pm rolls around traffic can get a little dicey. To ensure I wouldn’t keep my sweetie waiting, I decided to leave the house earlier than was probably necessary, and just arrive at the airport with ample time to spare.
After I walked to the baggage claim area, I got a cup of tea and made my way to a row of tucked-away seats. As I leaned back into the chair I selected, a man sat down right next to me – even though there were over a dozen vacant spots all around me.
The man looked at me as if this were completely normal behavior, smiled, and said, “You don’t mind if I sit next to you, do you?” I smiled. “Not at all,” I replied.
Ever since I’ve been a small child, I’ve had this aura that slightly-off-kilter people must be drawn to. I’m like a magnet for anyone who is a wee bit (or a lot bit) “odd”. Over time I’ve just come to accept this – and now that I’m a lot more of an ‘open’ person, I’m finding it kind of fun to engage with random strangers.
So I sat in the seat, silent and content, watching passengers walk by while this semi-strange man sat beside me. After a few minutes, an older woman made contact with a group of people that were waiting for her, and she let out a loud peal of laughter/crying. Reflexively, both the man and I turned our heads towards the commotion. Once we saw that the noise was suffused with joy, we both smiled. As we began to return our heads to a forward position and resume our straight-ahead gazes, the man’s eyes caught mine, and he started up a conversation.
He confirmed that he was a chauffeur waiting for a client (as I had suspected), and he told me about his career before becoming a driver (he worked in technology, and lost his job when the recession hit a few years ago), as well as shared some information about his son (who used to work for the company I am currently employed at). He asked me about my reason for being at the airport and my profession – and then the time came for him to pick up his client. As he stood to leave, the driver shook my hand, and genuinely thanked me for our pleasant conversation. I think he appreciated being in the presence of someone who let him speak (versus having to wait to be spoken to), and having someone look him in the eyes (versus treat him like a ‘servant’). Rich, you’re very welcome. My pleasure.
After Rich left, I was alone in the airport. I decided to do a bit of writing, so I pulled out my iPad and portable keyboard. However, as planes landed and new passengers filed past me, several of them slowed as they walked by, eying the technology I was using. A few of them literally stopped in front of me, and asked me questions about the keyboard: How does it work? Is it heavy? Do I like it? Where can they get one?… I think I gave Apple several new customers today. 😉
Then a lull in arrivals occurred, and I became a bit more immersed in my writing. As I slipped into a flow state, I heard someone excitedly call out my name with a tone of happy surprise. “Stef!” came the cry from a female voice. Surprised, I looked up – and saw a woman I had classes with during my yoga training program! It was fun (and funny) to see her in ‘regular’ clothes instead of spandex – and in an airport instead of a yoga studio. She and I exchanged hugs and quick life updates, then she scurried off to meet her husband and kids.
Smiling, I sat back down, and had just gotten re-engaged with my writing when again, I heard a voice excitedly say, “Stef!” Again, I looked up, and again, I saw someone unexpected. This time the woman who called out to me was a lady who works at the same company I work for; she’s an active member of the meditation group I started almost two years ago. Again, we exchanged hugs and quick updates, and again, she hurried off to get to her car and drive home. Seriously, how wild is all of this?!
In addition to the personal connections I experienced during my time at the airport, I also got to witness a variety of re-meetings between people. Friends picking up friends, wives meeting husbands, husbands greeting wives, younger parents hugging their toddler/preschool children, older parents greeting their college-aged ‘children’, adult children picking up their elderly parents…. so many different types of reunion. Yet for as different as all of these interactions were on the surface, they all possessed a similar feel: a sense of caring, kindness, and love, that all had the power to quickly erase both distance and elapsed time.
Eventually, the man of the hour (i.e., my husband) arrived on the scene, and walked into the baggage claim area tired and weary, but smiling just the same. I felt giddy when I saw him; and I loved melting into his body as we hugged.
My sweetie is back. It feels great to be reunited with my partner, my lover, my best friend. Welcome home hon.
Post script: The ‘chance’ encounters continue…
Driving home from the airport, my sweetie and I are a few miles from our house when we pass by a delivery van. My husband’s gaze lingers on the vehicle, then he says (a bit excitedly), “Hey, I think that’s T!” [One of our mutual friends.] I glance over at my husband, and ask him somewhat jokingly, “Do you want me to turn around and tail him?” My husband replies, “Yeah, sure!” So I make a u-turn, and a few minutes later locate the warehouse where our friend’s van is now parked. We wait for our friend to emerge for the building, then call out to him. Imagine his surprise when he saw the two of us! We all exchange handshakes/hugs, chat for a few minutes, then go our separate ways. Another fun surprise to add to a day of serendipitous interactions…
I love waiting at airports for many of the reasons you mentioned. Airports are great places to watch happy reunions and heartfelt goodbyes. Both make me smile. And I love chance encounters at airports too! 🙂
Airports certainly do have a lot of energy in/around them; and like you, the exchanges I get to witness usually make me smile – and appreciate all of the great people I have in my life. Thank you for being one of them! 🙂
Wow – what a day of chance encounters – it was obviously your day for them! I loved reading your post Stef, it was exciting waiting to hear what happened next!
Then your man arrived, tired but smiling and you melted into his body as you hugged – I love your description – it says it all. Welcome home to the hub.
Barb, thank you so much for your kind comments! (Both to me and my sweetie.) 😉 He’s jet-lagged, but happy to be back.
I received your postcard in the mail the other day and I wanted to say thanks! It made me happy to see it and I was so excited to tell my hubby I got a postcard from a fellow blogger! Thanks for making my day! 😀
Sharon, you are very welcome! I’m happy I was able to add some cheer to your day. 🙂
At home wherever you go —
Setting up an office at the airport, and “clients” immediately take the opportunity to drop in —
Great karma there, Stef!
Judith, I love the idea of running a business out of a random lobby (like at the airport, or the mall, or a park in the summer…). What a cool experiment that might be…
I do think you are a smile magnet as, reading this, I smiled and then smiled again, and then….
Joss, I also found myself smiling over and over at the airport. I’m delighted I get to share these wonderful adventures with people who enjoy and appreciate them! 🙂
I love the idea that you are a crazies magnet. Lol. 🙂
Jonathan, some days it amuses me, too. They just seem to flock to me! (Perhaps because I’m really one of them?) 😉