The Oakland Airport is very quiet and calm early on a Sunday morning. I mean really early. Thank goodness for those who work the night shift. These are the people who (wo)man the airports.
~The terminals are immaculate.
~The restrooms are cleaned. Every toilet is cleaned. No toilet paper on the floor. No paper towels on the counters.
~The restaurants are cleaned. The carpets are vacuumed. Trash cans are emptied, ready to receive the daily messes that people make, create, or just drop on the floor next to the receptacle.
~People are quiet and nice.
Don't be bothering me with jokes, joviality, frivolity. At this time of early day I think that most of us are walking in our sleep and still functioning just fine. There is no shoving or pushing or kids screaming or parents looking for their kids inside the scanning machine.
I organize my next move in the calm. I figure I need about six of those trays to complete my personal scanning for my clothes, my techie stuff, my backpack, my shoes (I wear slip-ons), my belt (have to to hold my pants up - if they drop I'll will personally wreck the calm), the liquids that could create a bomb (I use clear, strong pouches that linens come in), my jacket.
This is as close as the airport environment comes to heaven. Nobody is hollering at me to speed it up or quit taking so much time. And I still have my boarding pass in my mouth! I feel like Tom Hanks in The Terminal (as an immigrant, he takes up life living at the airport).
(Once I did leave my drivers license in a tray and I had to frantically look for it in the midst of chaos. Thank goodness I found it and was already through the security line.)
The quiet continues, all the way to the un-line at Southwest Airlines. It's too early for the funny folks at SWA to make jokes.
The calm moves toward the skies. And upon landing at San Diego, the calm evaporates. It's over.
And then the calm returns to the airport in the night, the next day. The masses are gone, messes still remain, bathrooms are not so neat . But calm reigns. And it's really quiet back at Oakland.
I think on this as I take the shuttle to my car in economy parking...far away from the terminals. I can't find my car. I think about crying. But I don't. I know Sutter, Sean, and I left it in the lot close to the L 4 marker. Or maybe not. So I wander around row after row, looking for my Cadeau, the Audi.
I remember how lucky I am to be with all of the family for nearly two perfect, quick days. S&S from New Zealand, E&E in San Diego, like a band...playing music once again, together. Meals together. The bike rides around Coronado, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Sunset Cliffs. The co-ed soccer game. The laughs. The super giant waffle ice cream cones along the ocean front.
I'm the only one out there in the dark, in the lot. Construction goes on through the night near the FedEx terminal. Nobody cares. Why should they? I press the button on my car keys to see if the lights flash.
Move over to another strip of cars. So many cars seem to be white. The lights flash one row away! L 4 is not where I'm at. That exercise takes almost 45 minutes from when I get on the bus to when I find the car.
Now to get the credit card to work so I can escape from the parking lot. That takes three attempts. Will the airport police come? Ah, no. They have more important tasks to attend to.
I'm out. I'm home. I remind myself to be grateful for so much good in my life. Gratitude does work. For everything.
Live richly, marilyn