Airports are strange places. In and out; in between destinations. They are the kind of no-man’s land that sometimes remind you of all that is you. Every time I get out of an airport, for a few seconds, I just stand looking at people waiting for their angels at the arrival gate. You can see the anticipation of joy in their eyes waiting for that familiar face in the endless myriad of faces that come out one by one. Every face is a new possibility as their eyes quickly surf through them, knowing and probably smiling at the inevitability of the joy that’s coming their way. Children, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends, best friends… all of them just waiting in anticipation. I stand there wondering if I could ever be the one that someone will wait for. I take the guilty pleasure in disappointing all of them for a fraction of a second and then, I move on.
I guess Airports are places that make you realize how tired you can be of being alone. The time in the taxi, that you take, is always a tad little longer. It always makes me wonder what Nietzsche would say about Airports. If existence is pointless, then what is travel? More pointless. Is that even possible? But, I guess if you have someone who can pick you up, you would never even think about such pointless pontification. Feeling lonely is like what they say about a prison. Once you are in behind those walls, first you are scared of them, then you hate them, then you start getting tired of them, then you get used to them, then you start falling in love with them and finally, you can’t remember a time when they weren’t there. You are institutionalized. The walls become your life and you exist. Probably even live within those walls. Those walls become invisible as they ultimately define your space. That’s all there is to it. Airports have this uncanny ability to remind me that loneliness has walls and I am trapped within them. I hope that you don’t understand this. Because if you do, you know that prison as well as I do.
Being in this prison doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have friends, you don’t have a family, and you don’t have people who once in a while can show up at an Airport. It’s not that black and white. Though, I wish it was because that would make it a lot easier to get out. It’s not about being depressed or being unhappy or being anxious to find someone to love. I think we can all make connections, celebrate, and enjoy the carnival of life. Loneliness is more like a black hole. No matter what you fill it with, it keeps sucking the life out of you. Reminding you with every single breath of life you took, whether it was sad or happy, that it was all pointless. Nothing could fill that vacuum. Nothing could even manage to put a protective shield around it. How could you? You have always been inside the black hole; this prison.
I think as a child you are best equipped to deal with loneliness. It’s when you grow up when shit hits the fan. Do you remember playing with toy guns or dolls, whatever suits your fancy, and spinning magnificent fantasies of aliens or kingdoms or dragons or terrorists, around your toys? You could talk to your imagination, create vivid caricatures of reality, play hide and seek with yourself. It’s a pity that when you grow up, talking to yourself is seen as Step One to insanity. Spinning stories is what makes us human. But, what do you do when you don’t have anyone to tell them to. I know someone who jumps around once in a while walking rapidly in her room, narrating fiction to herself. I always wondered if she was insane. Now, I can see that she is saner than anyone else I know. Maybe my world is a bit more screwed up than yours. But, think for a second about the one person that you know who is at ease with himself or herself. Are they not crazy in their own way?
Yesterday night, in desperation, I called my best friend. Loneliness can also be a ghost; it’s always there but sometimes it just bugs you more than the other times. The terrible part about knowing that you are lonely is that even if you call someone, you usually have no idea what to say. You don’t have a story; there is no chance of gossip. You feel empty, as if there is nothing in the world that can fill you up. You need help, but you don’t know what that help is. When you haven’t really had a talk in while, events do appear meaningless – “Why would anybody be interested in knowing that I watched four films in a row on my computer?”
“I just called because I called.” I said.
“I am terribly drunk, right now!” He said.
People in different states of mind make terrible conversations. There is no common ground for any kind of talk. And hence, quite predictably, I hung up. And as I sat there, terribly silent, waiting for the world to change around me, I could hear the muffled sound of the cars on the road next to my house, the occasional footsteps on the staircase outside my room, and the silence of my own room. And finally, in the midst of angst and despair, I spoke to myself for the first time in a very very long time:
Man differs from the rest of the organic world in that his development is unfinished.
Only to realize that sometimes talking to oneself is just the only thing that can break the silence of loneliness. Sometimes it just brings back sanity from a long, deep, infinite abyss that never seems to end. Maybe those invisible walls cannot separate me from myself and I think, I can live with that.