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Out of Our Minds
Thursday, March 31, 2005 6:13 PM
Hugs Anyone?
Kevin Salwen on Travel

Sometimes it's the little things that I miss about the old days of travel -- and one struck me this morning as I flew out of Atlanta. I've grown pretty accustomed to the 21st Century travel routine: removing my belt and shoes, leaving a little extra time for security, grabbing food to bring on board.

But as I was waiting at the gate for my turn to board, a flight attendant came off the plane and was greeted by a bouquet of balloons and hugs and cheers. Turns out she was retiring and that was her last flight, but what hit me was how much I miss the old days in which relatives or lovers or best friends would get off the flight, come down the jetway and search for that person they had been thinking about for the past two hours on the flight. That magical moment of connection. I loved watching those.

Once, several years ago, my wife and kids surprised me when they showed up unexpectedly after one of my business trips. I still remember the yells of 'Daddy' and my wife's smile.

These days, you can do that at baggage claim, but it doesn't feel the same. Wish we could have that back.


Kevin - 4/4/2005 1:47:12 PM
Scott and Martin -- Sounds like the two of you have a future business together.
hellomynameisscott - 4/4/2005 12:29:23 PM
A few years ago I had a great idea to play a joke on my brother. He was coming in town from Chicago for Thanksgiving. I offered to pick him, but due to 911, I was only allowed to wait at the bottom of the escalator.

I made him one of those corny 'Welcome Back' signs and waited at the bottom of the escalator. I held up my neon yellow posterboard that read:


You know when someone walks by you and gives you a stare so intense that you can actually feel their eyes burning a hole in your heart? That was what happened for the next twenty minutes. People walked by shaking their heads, smiling, laughing, even saying hello!

One lady even told me I was going to hell.

Nevertheless, people were still being friendlier. When Steve arrived at the top of the escalator I yelled as loud as I could, 'HEY STEVE! WELCOME BACK!'

He fell to the ground laughing. People from his flight approached him, shook his hand and said, 'Congratulations Steve!'

And all my brother could do was shake his head and say, 'Thanks.'
Brett - 4/1/2005 4:47:17 PM
While waiting to board a flight to visit my mom in August of 2001, I thought of a great concept for my one of my future 'essay through photography' book series: Capturing that moment where you have to say goodbye and the moment where you love to say hello!

When flying back home in September, I remember having to say goodbye at the escalators as my mom further away. It just doesn't have the same impact as the last minute goodbyes and surprise hellos...
Laura Bergells - 4/1/2005 3:08:56 PM
When I get off the plane, I'm not looking or feeling my best. My hair and clothes are rumpled, my eyes are puffy, and I smell as if I've been trapped in a crowded tin prison with limited privacy and toilet facilities.

I rather appreciate having a few moments to compose myself before I face the people I cherish. And I think that my loved ones are secretly relieved that they don't have to fight their way to the gate anymore.

Oh dear...or is it that they're relieved that they don't have to see and smell me at such a dreadfully unkempt moment? :0

Heather - 4/1/2005 12:16:06 PM
I think part of me still looks for a familiar face when I exit the plane and enter the airport. Anyone else do this?

I remember a favorite airplane memory where a young man was down on one knee at the entrance to the airport at SFO. He earnestly held a sign that read 'Will you marry me, Deborah? (or some woman's name)' I watched as passengers smiled at this man, a few passengers even accepted his proposal!! By the time the real 'Deborah' appeared, a great group had gathered, waiting for the big moment. After the initial shock wore off, the woman said yes and the couple hugged and shed a few joyful tears (as did many of the passengers.) Maybe that proposal seems particularly sentimental to me because it recalls bygone days of plane travel!

Thanks for sparking my rememberance of this story, Kevin!
martin - 4/1/2005 11:11:48 AM
Thanks for throwing me back to a bygone time. I have countless memories from my childhood of traveling out to Dulles airport to welcome my father back from some far off land. I can remember the lengthy preparations all too well. My mother dressing us, staring in awe at flight crews and dumbfounded that my dad actually flew in a plane that had a bar in it.

As I grew to an age where I would travel more by plane than car I can remember meeting my girlfriend (now wife) at a gate and walking thru the airport with a sense of glee.

Perhaps in this service enconomy we now live in you've hit upon a business opportunity. If a Megalomart like Wal-Mart can have a greeter, why can't we hire an equivlent for the airport. Imagine texting in your request as you leave LaGuardia and arriving in DC, Atlanta or wherever greeted by option A) caring elderly mother figure holding fresh baked cookies B) swarthy, romance novel cover looking cabana-boy or C) buxom 28 year-old mistress/trophy wife or D)other.

Payment of $20 seems reasonable and would include one hug, two questions: 'how was your flight?' and 'what do you want to do when we get home?' and the entire interaction would end once you had walked past four gates.

We could rekindle a wonderful sensation and make a killing at the same time.

(somewhat) Sincerely,



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