Monday, November 9, 2009

Last week I had to go to Dublin Airport to collect my family, as seems the norm these days the flight was slightly late and I was slightly early, which gave me plenty of time to stand around “people watching”

The arrivals hall at the airport seemed to contain every conceivable emotion in just the one hour that I was there

There was passion from when the twenty-year-old student holding a bunch of flowers purchased from the petrol station as he kissed his newly arrived girlfriend. It turned out that he really didn’t need the flowers

The middle-aged couple welcoming their daughter who has lived in America for the last twenty years. They were exited to welcome her I could hear it in their voices but you could see the fear in the mother’s face that in no time at all she would be upstairs again waving her daughter goodbye. Would she ever move home?

There is the apprehension of the first time arrival in Dublin, head moving quickly from side to side knowing that there is no one there to meet them but somehow hoping against all hope that somebody will call their name

The other first time arrivals were also there, the ones who strode purposely through the opaque doors hoping to catch a glimpse of the person holding the sign with their name on it. They are on business and business people are all business like, everything has to be done in a hurry, no time to spare. No time to feel the emotion that was clearly present.

A group of doting parents stood together waiting for their teenage daughters to return from the mid term school tour to Kenya. The trip was all about teaching the children that there was another world less fortunate out there, but as they entered the arrivals hall half of them were already back talking on their mobile homes.
Yes they wore flip flops, kaftan styled dresses and tie dyed t shirts but their two world experiences met right there on the concourse and I knew which world would win out. It would not be long before the plight of Africa was a distant memory. Maybe it’s too much to ask for a teenager to fully explore?

A slightly red eyed forty something lady, dressed for the cold spell stood motionless as close to the opening arrivals door as possible what seemed like her sister stood staunchly beside her, hands held ever so tightly. She had a mission, and that was to make sure that when the doors opened the first face that her arrival would see would be hers.

I guessed that there had been a death in the family and they were there to welcome somebody home
The doors opened and the embrace seemed everlasting. No words were required between the two ladies and the clearly emotional young man

The television news blared above my head, the security notices played every few minutes. The terminal is a noisy place but I heard little. I just watched the waiting people and imagined who would walk through the doors to meet them.

Then suddenly before I had the chance to react my own son ran towards me with a loud “Daaaadddddy” ringing in my ears. I wrapped him in my arms kissed my wife and we were on our way.

I felt a little guilty that my family had only come from Leeds / Bradford after a weekend spent with friends.

The next time I need to see human emotion in all it’s glory I may just take a trip back up to the airport. Maybe we should all try it sometime?

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