I love airports. I have loved them since my first airplane ride when I turned thirteen years old and my parents brought me and my sister, Cindy, to Disney World. I remember back then we were served full meals with dinner rolls and mashed potatoes. I was so eager to help the flight attendant–to make her job easier–that after we ate I had my sister stack her individual serving dishes together with mine. This method seemed to work well at home for clearing the table after dinner. I was certain it would help the overall process go faster.

"We need the trays left the way they were," the flight attendant stared down at me with her sharp suit, hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. She seemed to be in a hurry and I wondered where she could possibly go 30,000 miles up in the air. She then pointed to her cart where each tray was filed away in slots, with only enough room for one tray per divider. Her eyes held slight annoyance and I remember the wave of disappointment
inside that I had been more of a hindrance than a help. I quickly separated our dinner plates and square plastic salad dishes along with the dessert containers and put everything back in order.

Even with this minor mishap, I thrived on flying–looking out the window, watching the clouds from the topside instead of the bottom, and figuring out the nuances to this unique way of traveling. 

Now as an adult, I'm more fascinated by the airport than the plane ride itself. Give me a cappuccino and I could wander for hours in the maze of other people's busyness. Some seem lost, others distracted, most hurried and a few upset. All I really see is commonality. A bunch of people searching for their next stop, next directive, next goal, next destination–all with desires, wishes and wants. We each have hopes and things that matter to us. Significant lives. We all want to be loved.

I walk up to Caribou because they are the founders of my latest favorite coffee drink–a skim decaf latte with dark chocolate (not syrup–real dark chocolate floating and dissolving and fizzing to a frothy foam on the top of my coffee!)

At the counter, plastered everywhere are post-it notes with a question printed on top: What do you stay awake for?  It's a take on the Caribou slogan Life is Short, Stay Awake for It. And it appears the world is responding. I find myself reading nearly every answer:

  • For my flight
  • Cancun with my daughter, my best friend
  • Go home to see my cat (age 7)
  • My wife she needs me -Matt
  • Church
  • Life, family, friends!
  • Road trips
  • School
  • A great movie
  • Vacation
  • Julia Robulanski
  • My baby boy's graduation
  • Horses, poetry and Al Pacino
  • My 5 kids under 6 years old
  • Keith–my sweetie
  • Bowling
  • Bird watching
  • Reading a good book
  • The future that lies ahead

As I wait to board my plane, I can't help but think how much I like Matt whose wife needs him and the seven year old who loves her cat. I'm curious who is this Julia Robulanski that just her name alone is obviously a good answer. But, most of all I find myself in all of the answers–somebody grasping for a significant, love-filled, life-is-worth-staying-awake-for life.

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