I fly a lot. A lot. The more I fly, the more I have become interested in the people I see in the airport. Why are they traveling? Where are they headed? Which group do they belong to?
There are amateur travelers. Amateuris Traveleraris. These are the folks that have received a random PreCheck pass. They slowly remove glasses, belts, wallets, jewelry, phones and shoes. They open their overstuffed roller bag to rummage for their medications, lotions and shampoos. They stop in the metal detectors with arms raised while the TSA agent is frantically waving them through. They are usually wandering aimlessly through the terminal. More times than not, they are buried in their phone. Every so often they stop, look up, bewilderment covering their faces while they search the monitor for their flight.
There are professional travelers. Professionalarium Traveleraris. These are the people that fly constantly. They are usually well dressed. Loafers and heels clicking through the terminal at a rapid staccato. Gleaming watches peek from the edges of their shirt sleeves. They are Pre-Check register. Know the routine. No second is wasted. MBA speak flows from their mouths into the ever present headset. Mild annoyance crosses their faces as they have to hang up for the X-ray.
There are the dirtbag/hippy travelers. Dirtasaurium Traveleraris. They are usually wearing Tevas or Birkenstocks. Sometimes, they’ll be barefoot, padding through the terminal after security, sandals in hand. Their luggage is a giant backpack from Deuter or Osprey. The pack usually has a multitude of D-rings clinking around and there is at least one hanging Nalgene bottle. Dreadlocks, piercings and tattoos are prevalent.
There are families. Familium Traveleraris. These folks fall into two camps. Either they are completely haggard with a glazed over PTSD-like trance or they are lined up with the precision of a drill team. I see very few in between. The haggard ones are dragging multiple bags, strollers and car seats. Kids are either underarm like footballs or trying to run the wrong way on the moving sidewalk. (Secretly, I’d live to join them in running the wrong direction, hooting gleefully as I charge upstream.)
The orderly families are prim and proper. Dad is normal in front, kids in the middle and mom trailing behind. They all have identical roller bags. The kids are staring at iPads, ears clamped with headphones.
There are a whole multitude of sub-categories. People that cross boundaries or create their own. I’m still working on those.
Then there’s me. I fall somewhere between pros and dirtbags with a definite lean towards the dirtbag side. T-shirt, shorts and slaps make up my standard uniform. Tattoos peek out from my sleeves and I normally haven’t shaved in a couple of days. I travel light and never with a roller bag. I have a system and PreCheck is a godsend except when the above mentioned amateurs are ahead of me. The TSA folks recognize me and I’m fairly certain I could find my through the Denver airport in my sleep. Neither of those are worth bragging about.
It’s just a fun way for me to pass the time. I make up stories. Conversations. Accents. Every now and then, I snap a photo freezing a moment of the story. The studies continue…