Los Angeles, LAX — 24 hours since I left Singapore. I’ve been sitting in the L.A. airport for 5 hours on layover, in a gelled state, moving slowly, laughing easily at Office reruns on my laptop, drinking milk tea, keeping my eyelids open.
Knowing I will arrive late into Austin, I decide to look for a place to sing here. Walking around the American Airlines lounge I find an unoccupied room, labeled TV Room for its large screen on one wall and rows of viewing chairs. I flop into one.
Dr. Phil, the American TV psychologist is hosting some family talking about grieving and I bristle at my own country’s commercialization of such matters. Luckily , this is only in my periphery as I start singing.
At first it is a defeated survival song, a check-the-box song, a barely-get-it-out song. Slowly though, the singing path wakes me up. I rise and start walking around.
The singing awakens me and makes me more aware of my surroundings. I notice heat coming from only one small place in the ceiling, the first manufactured heat I’ve felt in weeks. I notice the four TV speakers in the ceiling. I notice a door to a whole other lounge and peak through at the travelers. And through a large window, I look down to people walking on the concourse and see their airport faces. A flight attendant looks up and sees me and flashes a flicker of a grin.
I protect the space by standing there, looking out from its entrance. Several people start toward it and then turn around from this subtle stance.
Maybe it’s not so hard to find nourishment in an airport.