I’m traveling. Going back to Oxford. Or leaving home. The distinction of where to go back to is becoming progressively blurrier. I fear that eventually I really won’t belong anywhere. This is rather worrying.
Anyway, the picture today is of one of the loneliest and saddest paths in existence. Taken in the Dubai airport, somewhere around the Gate I’m supposed to be. I’m sitting in one of those lovely recline-y chairs that face the path so you can see people walk across and use the mechanical roll-y path. The name eludes me for the moment.
I don’t like the Dubai airport. It’s too big, flashy, smells sharply of expensive, packaged things that are nice to look to look, has lots of people with carts carrying things and people rushing to be somewhere else. The only people who really seem to belong at the airport are the people who work there. But that’s only in comparison with everyone going to other places and having connecting flights and generally using it as a point-of-necessity to pass through. Everyone is in their own little universe. Either one encompassing their partner, their family, or themselves. With their phones of course. Writing in short phrases seems to happen quite a bit when I’m sleep deprived.
This is where this path comes in. I took this picture after I had washed my face with surprisingly nice airport-bathroom-soap and was waiting for my phone to power on so I could tell my parents I had arrived. This path is very sterile. The chances of someone walking over this on a regular basis, as an essential part of their commute or a favored path to go to someone’s house seem remote. This bit of path is in a limbo between gates. The rare individual slows down and considers….and then stops for the lovely recline-y chairs. I don’t want to call them recliners. That word has a more luxurious image in my head than these utilitarian, flattened blue things that yearn to be something more. But I like this one. I think I’ll call it Kevin.
The other reason I took a picture of this path is because a few years ago, I stopped a little ways ahead at a charging station. And I met this lovely gentleman who gave me a .pdf book on permaculture and his business card. We had an amazing conversation about gardening and growing your own food. He had a bit of land in another country and was trying to implement the book’s ideas into it. Unfortunately, I never did manage to follow up, since my bag was stolen when I arrived at my next destination and with all my other things, I lost the card. This is a VERY VERY long shot, but if that gentleman reads this, please do get back to me. I’m working to some extent on the same topic now and would love to know how the farming effort turned out.
And back again to sterile paths. There aren’t many paths that make me sad. Airport ones usually do. I am tempted to get up and take a picture of the central commercial bit of the airport while I talk myself into getting a smoothie (paying in pounds and getting dirham coins back doesn’t seem like a good deal and the math always goes loopy in my head), but I probably won’t. It seems too formidable to stand in the center and get all the detail I want. I am frightened that someone will come up to me and ask me to delete it because I got their face in it. So the other path that makes me sad is the driveway at home. And it only makes me sad when I’m in the cab leaving home to go to wherever I’m going for an extended amount of time, or when I’ve just locked the gate after a friend, who I know I won’t see again for a while.
I do think that my obsession with paths is bordering on the unhealthy, but it’s extraordinary all the things that come up when you think of paths. Currently thinking of the route I will take on my way home when finally IN Oxford and I’m wondering what’s changed in the weeks I’ve been away. And then, finally, the next day, I will walk my favorite path in the world and walk to college and meet people I am very fond of.