It doesn’t matter where I am seated, watching the other passengers rush to exit the airplane is something that I enjoy. This trip was no different. As soon as they were able, damn near everybody, stood up. Some were standing in isles, some were doing a half stand, and hanging on to the back of the seat in front of them. It always makes me laugh a little inside. The door to the exit hasn’t yet been opened but there they are – awkward stances in all – holding on to carry on’s with all their might, staring eagerly ahead. They are like children waiting for the recess bell to ring. Just like that, the door open and they’re off. Everyone, except of course me…the people watcher.
Everything about this trip had tested my resolve. From realizing that I would have to pay an additional three hundred dollars to check an extra bag to the trip (literally) down the stairs. The back pack that had been my pride and joy, acted as a constant reminder of what happens when we refuse to let go.
We are burdened down by the things we chose to hold on to; either because we think we need them, or simply because we don’t know how to let them go. That “trip”down the stairs from the plane was, for me, life’s little metaphor. Figure out what you really need and take only half of that with you. Leave the rest behind or you will stumble, fall, and/or get caught up in your own stuff.
Technically, my back pack landed on Turkish ground before me. I think (what was left of) my pride did too. I collected myself and headed toward the little shuttle – only to be told by someone who’s expression was everything but friendly, to move over to the other side of the runway. It isn’t that I understood him. Clearly, he thought I had a hearing problem because he began saying the same thing over and over louder and louder each time. Finally, he began motioning, pointing, and making gestures with his hands, until I began doing as I was told.
I made my way over to few other people who were standing off to the side of the plane. Since none of them spoke English, no one tried to make conversation. Still, however, standing there in silence gave me time to collect my thoughts. Being there with them, was also much better than standing alone. When they moved, I moved. When they stopped, I stopped. Gave new meaning to “following the crowd.” I was laughing to myself and wondering (since they were the only other people there), if this meant that I was finally part of the “in-crowd” when the airport man began saying something. After he finished speaking, they started to walk towards the glass doors, so I did too.
Three very large, very heavy, and very, very, overpacked suitcases waited for me in the baggage claim area. I was more than thankful for the attendant. He put my luggage on a cart, pushed it outside, and waited with me until he was able to summon a taxi. Such a simple thing, but for me, it meant feeling less alone. He made conversation, and although his English was very bad, and my Turkish non-existent, I realized that I was just happy to have someone to talk to. It couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes but in those 10 minutes the tenor of my trip changed. I began to feel proud of myself for having made it this far.
The attendant said something to another person who was standing there, and within minutes, a taxi arrived. He spoke with the taxi driver in their language. I only know this because I recognized the name of my hotel when he said it. The taxi driver popped open the trunk, of what looked a like a toy car, and then began to struggle with my suitcases. After quite some time, a great deal of effort, and the airport attendant’s help, they were finally able to secure my luggage.
Another one of life’s little metaphor’s; when you refuse to let go other people sometimes struggle with the stuff you hold on to.