Word Count 499
By Mike Cecconi
Here we are in the limbo between our flights that we call Layover, neither here nor there but more or less exactly where you’re supposed to be for now.
Here we are in San Francisco and yet nowhere near a final destination. We’re in San Francisco but of course, we aren’t really in San Francisco. You couldn’t find the space for an airport within the city of San Francisco and, even if you could, the real estate along would cost tens of billions and no one with that kind of money is that crazy.
You are in an airport in the distant suburbs of San Francisco, where land value and infrastructure allows such a thing to actually exist. I am in San Francisco International Airport and, also, I have never been to San Francisco. This is the liminal nature of airports in the current age, you are here and also you are nowhere.
You’ve been to the San Francisco Airport a dozen times and yet you’ve also never set foot in San Francisco itself. When you lived in Los Angeles, on the same coast in the same state, you never went there, you never had both the time and the money to see it for yourself. You were always either too busy with work or too broke to travel like that.
Then again, here you are, going from Los Angeles… that is to say, Burbank Airport… to Little Falls… that is to say, Albany International in Colonie via this place and also a New York City airport that’s really in an industrial stretch of New Jersey.
This is the way we have always lived, never quite able to be concrete in our definitions, having only an approximate average of meaning. Our words will never say exactly what we mean but are hopefully close enough to get the job done. This is how it has always been to be a person in the word but it feels ever stronger now, in San Francisco while also never having been there.
You are Schrodinger’s Cat from the old physics mind-experiment. You are both in San Francisco and not at the same time, moving from one quantum state to another, from one American state to another, killing time along the way from a place where you lived to a place where you live once again. You walk a tightrope of meaning without even noticing most of the time, the funambulist that you are, between where you’ve been and where you’re going to be, living briefly in the now.
You blink in and out like the city lights that will soon shimmer beneath your plane on the Earth below, like Christmas lights, like Schrodinger’s Cat, like the shifting meanings of words and the shifting names of cities over time. As you will someday too. Enjoy the show, watch the parade march by as you go. Trying not to fall off, for a little while at least, that’s what it is to live a life.