Taking time to stop, look and listen

One of the joys of having a blog to write is the ability and freedom to touch on topics of all kinds without having to worry about the blowback.  Sure, we can stay away from the powder keg issues of politics and other tremendous third rails.

This week I had a sub 24 hour business trip and got back ridiculously early in the morning at Midway.  My next appointment was not until 10:00 in Chicago, so I actually had time to stop and catch a breather because even as bad as the Stevenson Expressway can be, it has never been three hours worth of bad, especially if you started at Cicero.

So with the extra time, I actually just parked myself in a spot and watched people.  What an incredibly intricate, chaotic ballet.  Nobody is ever at the airport with time to kill unless your flight has been delayed or cancelled.  So to actually not be going anywhere or feel the pressure or anticipation about it was entirely unfamiliar.  But what a remarkable time.  Families, businesspeople and solo casual travelers.  People getting themselves reassembled after a TSA disassembly of their shoes, wallets and other personal items.  People lounging over food or window shopping.

I even stopped to talk to a few people along the way.  The gentleman who shined my shoes was a machine operator at Canada Dry a beverage company here in Chicago.  That was until nine years ago when they were bought by Canfield’s and the plant was closed.   He recounted stories of trying to get celebrities to stop at his booth and failing.

Even my airport shuttle bus driver had a story.  He has been driving for the city for about eight years or so and before that had his own business.  He owned adult book stores and saw his sales declining as the Internet grew in popularly.  He sold at the peak traveled the world and now is just doing something to keep himself busy.

We have become, I feel, disconnected with those around us because the ease of electronic communication.  After a leisurely hour at the airport, I have made a mental note to try and be a little bit more attentive.  What the heck, I mean, we have to still know how to communicate when our phone batteries go dead, don’t we?

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