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  • Photo du rédacteurNatacha de Santignac

Airport blues

Dernière mise à jour : 1 mai 2020

The flights to so called exotic places pile up on the screen:

- 15.35 LS237 Faro

- 15.40 FR 461 Malaga

- 15.50 LS 947 Rhodes

- 15.55 BE 015 Venice

- 16.00 FR 643 Dubrovnik

Shops are full of women getting ready for their hen’s weekend away. Some proudly exhibit T-shirts where one can read “Bride’s supporting group”, or “Simone and John forever”. Most of them are already quite drunk and I feel sorry for the bar tables as myriads of empty glasses squeeze on their tops.

One after the other the announcements are shouted out in the exact same way by the exact same voice: “Ladies and Gentlemen, and Jet2 Holiday welcome you on flight number LS947 to Rhodes. We will be calling people from rows 20 to 30 first. We wish you a good flight and a lovely holiday.”

As the big metal birds take off, their bellies full of chatting flies, just buzzing in the bar or flying from one perfume to a bottle of whisky, only a while ago. I am struck by the ugliness of the scenery. Before the next wave arrives, the desolation of the overflowing tables and empty chairs catches me. I feel I am one of them. Abused and bruised.

And here it comes, a new invasion of loud voices, strong accents and evocative T-shirts. The promise of good weather abroad has drawn many to wear shinny flip-flops and sparkling short sleeved tops. I feel cold just looking at their coconut skins, and bury myself deeper in my Wolfskin blue coat. It is my life savior: Berlin, Patagonia, Helsinki and now the U.K.

I am glad to be the owner of a frequent flyer card and find my way to escape the crowd. But do I? Airline lounges have been taken over privately. The motto is now: as long as you are ready to pay, you get in. And so, a similar faction awaits me. A little less exuberant, but still mainly interested in the free drinks and food nicely presented by the bar. They have paid their way in, after all.

I casually observe two women sitting on my left. Their complexion is quite plummy, still they wolf one sandwich after the other, and the beers go down their throat at an impressive pace. Their eyes are scrutinizing the future dance floor of their “all inclusive” holiday package. How appealing men eating and drinking almost until they drop dead are, I don’t know. Giggling and commenting, making eye contact. I feel I have stepped back into a playground with two women in their early sixties.

Their exotic week is not about discovering a different culture, visiting interesting sights or venturing for hidden walks into the wild, no, it is not. Their week slogan is: “Drink, eat and fuck as much as you can”. Easy prays for non-choosy hunters sharing the same goals, these disillusioned drifters will be content with a fake romance or just a shag.

I try to picture how they must feel when their return to their grey routine. Do they proudly exhibit their “tableau de chasse?” Go on about their tan since it is the only thing they bring back and cannot get at home?

I feel in pain. Then I see the smile of the faces of all the writers I have met this week at Lumb Bank. Their words echo in my heart, their voices stroke my memories, their stories stimulate my imagination. I live in this kind of parallel world. Here I can swim at ease, understand the meaning of life and enjoy it.

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