Humans are a curious species. When living out their day to day repetitive existence,they become rather attached to their place in relation to others. The desire to maintain the Jung-esque persona that they have built to show those in familiar circles can be rather inhibiting and prevent them from, for lack of a better phrase, just letting go.
But remove them from the fear of consequence and being judged and they will show sides and reveal tales many of their friends and family are only briefly aware.
Couple this with a time pressure of a pending parting and the incentive to share can become compulsive.
The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge nowhere near resembles the bustle and energy it held a mere twenty minutes earlier. A boarding flight to Tokyo made sure of that, pulling the majority of the Lounge’s temporary inhabitants either from tan leather bound chairs or the vulture circle over the small food buffet island. My flight to MEX is delayed at least an hour and I have little desire to prematurely join the flesh freeway filing along the terminal.
Camera in hand, I take the opportunity to capture the silent sentinels and bar denizens that bear witness to the passing of travelers such as I.
Whilst engaged in my slow photo tour of the lounge I catch the attention of the bar tender who comments how the light is not making for the best photo opportunities today.
‘Aye, but at least with digital the mistakes are cost free’, I retort.
A nod and a smile implies the invitation to come chat about cameras, life, and yarns of one’s past.
For the next half hour, Luca regails me of life growing up near the Swiss-French-Italian border, of places to see if I happen to return, of a curiosity in ‘parapendio’, and of course, photography. A breadth and depth of conversation one would never have so readily in their day to day life.
But with departure approaching, I am forced to leave Luca to the solitude of the near empty lounge.
Fast forward one hour, thirty thousand feet and a few hundred miles south. Seated next to me is Gordon from Edmonton on his way to Mexico for the first time. It is not often one meets a country virgin so I press with queries about his preconceptions given the diet fed us by the news and Hollywood. His response is greeted with a chuckle and a lack of surprise – we could well have the makings for the next Netflix series given Gordon’s visions of a narco driven state rifle with corruption, kidnappings, and targeted killings by both sides of the conflict. Then again …
Over the course of the flight our conversation flows through the challenges he and his spouse now face trying to travel with a newborn (his spouse is an airline employee and benefits from discounted travel plus companion passes), being bumped from many a flight last minute in tiny airports where no one spoke a lick of English (only to be saved on one occasion by a philanthropic fellow Canuck who surrendered her seat so he and his wife could make it home), and thoughts on the latest entry in the Star Wars trilogy of trilogies (we agreed to disagree by the end of it but made peace in whole heatedly agreeing that Tarentino needs a stab at Star Trek).
The beauty of travel is that it creates the precondition for bonds to form that would otherwise be impossible in the daily grind. These bonds while brief in life are rich in depth and texture – much akin to a falling cherry blossom.