Returning from vacation in bad shape from the misery of the airport | Travel

I It was in a really bad place last weekend. Not mentally – I was at a Starbucks airport that I fell against a wall. It wasn’t until we sat in the departure lounge for many hours, watching our two young children in the middle of the night as the rooms slowly filled up with hundreds of people and their thousands of iPads, before I realized, with excitement, that I was inside as a news story.

It’s a very special kind of sweet and sour excitement, isn’t it, when you look back from your own personal disaster and realize that you’re part of something bigger? The scariest and most disturbing moments of your life are suddenly polished to sparkle and shine beautifully. Stories that would have had friends politely choke on a yawn 30 seconds later circulate in entire newspapers, with quotes from experts, panoramic photos, and someone seriously explaining how they got started in a teacup.

I am not talking about the great tragedies here, I am talking about the common domestic defeats which disturb the reckless peace in Britain so much that they make newspapers. I’m talking about times, for example, when you turn on the car radio and know you’re sitting in a Wales long traffic jam, or your small town is having the hottest day in 100 years, or you find yourself at the end of the NHS queue to your ear, or no longer You can afford pasta because of something to do with wheat. So my family and I, returning from our first holiday three years ago, found ourselves among the thousands of Britons stranded at an airport due to ‘travel chaos’ from a lack of workers.

We had had a lovely vacation, but at that point we had to keep reminding ourselves of the truth. Despite swimming in the sea that particular morning, by 1am I was fuzzy about whether I was anywhere else, at all, out of these plastic chairs. I was born here several hours ago, and here where I grew up, on the tile floor at Gate 5a, and here where we ate our meals of cereal bars and Chupa Chups, and here where we took care of each other’s illnesses and petty deaths. Despite the coldness of being in a crowd of people without masks, everyone behaved surprisingly well. Even when it was announced that all Manchester flights had been cancelled, and our seat neighbors (who had been waiting for seven hours) began to collect their bags, rather than anger or panic, there was a resigned calm, all ‘okay’. I was amazed.

You always think (I always think) that the holiday is going to be about clearing your mind of worries and bullshit, an idea amplified by shutdowns in a home with a small family of mental bruises after too much TV. Not only will my mind be reset and rejuvenated, but also the dynamic of my whole family – no more little rows around the teeth, or grumbling about who took his felt head – we’ll see the sea, smell the heat and then a great calm rests upon us. I forgot, of course, that wherever we go, there we are. At the airport trying to silence the child, I read a quote from Quentin Crisp. In all his marvelous wisdom he said, “You must know who you are, who you think you are, and who your neighbors think you are.” “What are you in reality? You must not go through a dream, but accept your limits and then express them in your life, in your behavior, in your identity. You must speak the truth about yourself. Otherwise, life is just a waste of time, right?” Yes. And it turns out that I am a person who finds neither calm on the stones of a Greek beach in June nor in the sea, but has fallen on a wall at Starbucks Airport.

I wasn’t the only one. All around, people smiled their little gloomy smiles, blinked to make room, and kept their voices low while little children slept in starfish shapes across jumpers on the ground. There was a polite crowd around the phone charging center, but he felt a group of fans waiting for Kylie instead of the expected scrum. When we finally arrived in the UK at 4am, moving our bodies through passport control, we found a quiet queue of hundreds of vacationers on the other side waiting to check in, lined up along the airport in an area designated for Ukrainian refugees. “Hello!” The banner said awkwardly, to a pink cowboy hen party.

We made our way through those leaving duty free, some jealousy. It was partial exhaustion, yes, but there was also some kind of gentle humanity in the peace of the airport – a teenage boy jumped into WH Smith to get a drink for an old woman who saved his space, wanted to sit with the kid they were making some space, everyone jogging around a guy snoring very loudly Next to the money dispenser. When we walked in at the cold dawn I got excited again – we had gone on vacation, but we came back with the news. I saw a photographer standing next to Marks and Spencer documenting the gentle chaos, and he carried the sleeping child to my shoulder, and waved at him as if it were the Queen.

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