tomstuart

Standiford Field, Louisville Regional Airport (SDF)

This is a airport i visit frequently, although not usually while crying. At this particular occassion, i had just returned from a trip to beautiful Costa Rica during the winter months in February. February in Costa Rica is very nice and it is a nice country but im not reviewing Costa Rica im reviewing SDF. When the plane landed at the gate i began to lament that it seemed the airport put a much larger priority on the UPS planes and their traffic as the packages had a larger and nicer terminal than the people. I began to wail and catterwhal about this to anyone who would listen but got nothing but the cold shoulder. Southern belles and men in linen suits alike did nothing but ignore me, and the staff were no better. Rude and impolite all around, so much for Southern Hospitality (TM)! After I gathered my bags and things and went outside i was even more thoroughly depressed by the weather and by the terrible smell at arriving flights pickup that im pretty sure was pee. A thoroughly miserable experiance all around and not a friendly or good place for an airport cry.

Score:

Companion Cube

Stockton Metropolitan Airport

While returning from getting a sandwich at the airport's Subway I encountered this gentleman who seemed in despair and asked him if anything was wrong. "Everything," he said, "and it can never be made right again." In his pale gaze, dulled by loss, I saw a sorrow which transcended the mere individual to speak for all humanity, a plaintive cry against the cruelty of the vast black cosmos. His profound grief, both noble and pathetic, expressed a howl from the deeps of time, like a chained beast which knows only pain. My spirit was captured in that eye, as the murderer's grim visage is imprinted in his victim's eye. I fell into the seat beside him; I wept quietly, grieving for the doom that comes to all that breathes, and the ultimate failure of all who strive. Also, I ordered a "Spicy Italian" and received an "Italian B.M.T.," so I have to subtract a star for the oversight.
Score:

School Nickname

Shannon Airport

When I was a teenager I came though this airport on a school trip to France. When we got to the waiting area the fumes of liquor brought tears to my eyes, but I can't really count that as real crying. Turns out the U.S. Army was using the airport as a layover before going back to Vegas or somewhere near there. They were allowed to hit the bar and duty free so a lot of us tried to shimmy up to them at the bar and pay to have them put a half a naggin or so in our coke/fanta/lilt/etc. I was having trouble convincing some fuckhead and the other classmates were laughing at me so I went off to the bathroom to cry in. The bathroom itself was very clean and quiet, so I had a good cry in there. After I was done I made another attempt where in exchange I'd his listen to his attempt at Irish accents. I cried laughing at each one and got an empty naggin in the face in return.

When I came to I had a really good cry from the pain, whereas the army guys had already boarded their flight after emptying the duty free of all liquor.

Overall, a very good airport for authentic crying, and very good facilities to cry in, in discreet, or in public. The echo in the terminal was amazing.

Score:

OMGVBFLOL

Aéroport Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle

I was seventeen. I had grown up on a farm, the child of two state workers. I'd always felt out of place, uncomfortable, and unwelcome in the world. Everything where I grew up was rolling countryside patched over with strip malls and McMansions. I was filled with existential dread everywhere I went.

Given the opportunity, I joined a friend's school trip to Paris. I'd never travelled internationally, but had always wanted to. It was something to do, anyway, and my folks agreed to pay for it.

The entire experience of being in Paris felt like breathing real air for the first time in my life. A city. Freedom to go anywhere in it I wanted, just hop on the train and you're there. Huge museums. More to explore than one could manage in a lifetime, and I only had six days to get as much of it as I could. I was overwhelmed.

The guide for our tour group, a 30-ish French lady, was very forthcoming about what the future could hold for someone who wanted to explore. She told us about how she'd always wanted to see Israel, so in her 20s she moved there. No job, no place to stay, just a plane ticket and some savings. In a few days she had a small job and a room. It's difficult to overstate how hard this blew my mind.

Between Paris and Adrienne, my entire idea of what life could be had been torn open and strewn about in less than a week.

I had to leave a day earlier than the group due to a schedule conflict, which meant I was taking a shuttle back to the airport and catching my flight alone. Still in the addled state of mind I described above, I arrived and began looking for my airline and gate. I walked from one end of the terminal to the other, looking, and couldn't find it. I walked the terminal again, sure I had missed the sign somewhere. Hunting for the English on the signage of an airport that serves five continents would be hard even if it wasn't in France. I had arrived with a comfortable buffer of time, but by now had eaten through most of it. I still had security and customs to get through and my flight lifted off in two hours. I felt panic slowly creeping in, clouding my memory of what little French I had learned in the last week. I walked up to a pair of women in airline uniforms and clumsily stammered through "Uhhh, sorry, uh, merci, wee son United?" They stared at me, clearly irritated at the interruption. "United, see voo play?" They started laughing, and one of them repeated "United?!??" in a mocking tone. I rolled my eyes dramatically as a retort and moved on.

Collecting myself, I looked through signage for anything that looked like information, help, security, whatever. Eventually I found out I was in the wrong terminal.

The shuttle driver dropped me off at the wrong terminal.

Too relieved to be angry, I took the loop train all the way around to the right terminal, got through security and customs with a little time to spare.

When I sat down to wait for boarding, I started reflecting on the trip, and the sum total of all my experiences of the last six days crashed into the stress and fear of the last hour and a half of being lost in a foreign airport, and I broke down. I pulled the hood of my sweatshirt over my head and leaned forward in my chair in a futile attempt at some privacy. I did my best to be quiet but everyone was looking at me.

The United employees working the boarding desk were polite but all business, which I appreciated. I just wanted to get on the plane without anyone making a huge deal about the fact that I'd clearly been crying for a half hour.

The in-flight movie in my seatback TV was Lost In Translation. The story stirred up all my feelings about the trip, starting the waterworks all over again. Despite my attempts to be quiet, the passenger next to me could clearly see my distress. Thankfully, they left me alone. Eventually, I fell asleep.

Rating: two airplane emoji

– David "g0m" Dolan (@g0m)

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