I haven’t traveled as much as I wish I had, but I’ve been in a few airports. I remember going with my family to pick up my older sister, then giving a ride to a sailor she met there. (Reminds me of the wonderful black and white photo.) Next we took my mother for her first flight, which went all the way to Europe. During one of those excursions I spied a teenaged girl carrying a tennis racket. (I envied her, since she seemed to be on her way to an enjoyable time.) It never seemed noisy, crowded, or dangerous, and I associated it all with fun.
By the time I had the chance to fly myself, so much had changed. It was pre-911, but regulations were already more strict, and the skies weren’t as friendly. Nevertheless, I accepted it when they ran out of my meal choice just before getting to me, and I ate my cold, hard roll like a trooper. All in all, it was an okay experience.
The next time I flew, two years later, things had changed even more. My husband was detained for a search, and he sweetly informed the workers that his wife was on her way onto the flight, so they searched my bags too. It would’ve been all right if they hadn’t damaged a gift I’d just bought for my mother.
I miss those more innocent, carefree days, even though we now have so many electronic devices to make life “easier.” People weren’t as hurried then, travel was less difficult and threatening, and I didn’t worry much about having something stolen.
That said, when my husband visited Moldova in the mid-nineties, shortly after the fall of Communism, soldiers ran the airport there. He said the one in Budapest was better, but there were still soldiers with guns. Needless to say, he felt more relaxed at airports in the United States. So as hectic and rigid as they seem sometimes, at least we’re free, and we don’t feel like someone’s watching us all the time.