Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Zen and the art of the Layover

Originally posted on Posterous, April 28, 2012

Here in the upper-central US, you can't go to hell without going through Chicago. I don't really mind O'Hare, or the delay; time was, though, either would have driven me bonkers with frustration.
Age? Experience? A little of both, I suppose, mixed with exhaustion. I'm thankful, just now, for an enforced opportunity to do next to nothing. Nothing but watch the world go by, that is.

The best people-watching spot anywhere is London's Victoria Station—the entire population of the planet goes through there in the course of an afternoon—but O'Hare isn't half bad. There's a lady with striped orange hair, wound into a slip-shod bun, bleating on about her last conversation with her therapist; an Indian guy in a green turban, exuding imperturbability; and some wacko doing yoga off to one side of the concourse. No screaming child anywhere (amazing; clearly, Central Casting slipped up today).

I'd say two third of the people around me have some kind of electronic device they're absorbed in. iPads are the hands-down favorite, and most of them are the current model ( including mine), though there are a great many iPods as well. Interesting how the technology facilitates conversation—the people with paperbacks (lot of Clive Cussler, a James Patterson, and one dreadful bodice-ripper) are absorbed entirely, but the electronic folk enjoy comparing devices, apps, and sharing opinions. Mostly, they're using the gizmos to read the news, check email, and do social networking (I seem to be the only one fooling with iMovie); they're connecting outward, doing stuff. Wonder if electronic activity is as refreshing an escape for most as hiding out in a good novel can be? On reflection, I'd guess that's why most of the paperbacks are some kind of suspense/action subject matter—they're good, riveting reads that take the reader <somewhere> to occupy the time. Looks to me like the tech-based folk are enjoying their arguments, comparisons, and conversation as much as the readers their books.

Boarding now—onward to Ireland.

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