I only know where I'm going during a 7 hour layover.
I love airports. Seriously. I know that's an odd statement, because even people who like traveling dislike the actual traveling part. Everything about it is a giant pain in the ass (but also magical, because you can literally change your entire life with one 10 hour plane ride), and yet I find airports to be one of the places where I can find the most mental space. If I lived near the airport and needed a local bar, I'd turn the brewpub outside security into my haunt. No one would ever know me, so I could get buzzed and broody in peace, and there would be an endless supply of people watching and taxis ready to take me home.
I think, at the heart of it, airports make me feel like I'm accomplishing something. Even if I'm just sitting and waiting for hours, I'm on my way to somewhere. Everyone is always going on and on about enjoying the moment and being grateful for what you have right now, in the present, and I'm like well right now, in the present, my life is about as put together as that pile of Phnom Penh garbage that has a random assortment of decayed coconut husks, beer cans, and a single toilet seat. And the only thing I can really be sure of is that I'm definitely standing in shit water. But it's rush hour, so if I try to cross the street to get out of the shit water I'll definitely get run down by a rogue tuk tuk so I have to time this perfectly, otherwise I end up in a Cambodian hospital. "Cambodian hospital" is pretty much an oxymoron, especially since I've seen people just take their IV drips, hoist them onto their motorbikes, and moto off into the sunset. I don't even have a moto, but it costs like $7 a day, which is way cheaper than American health insurance, so I guess I've made the right decision because standing in this shit water with a moto hospital on the horizon is at least saving me money.
But at the airport, I'm going places. We're going places. It exists solely to get us where we're going. We have a plan. What happens when we get there...that part doesn't matter yet. We get to offload all of our baggage onto some person we never have to see again, whether it's the suitcase porters or the guy in the customs line. We get to sit in the lounge and drink White Russians just because we can. We get to get soft serve with rainbow sprinkles and Cinnabons just because it makes us feel small again. We can imagine being the hero if the plane goes down and we get everyone off the plane alive. We can wonder what it would be like to land in an exotic location, and instead of switching planes, we just leave everything behind and disappear into a new place, forever.
Unless there's a screaming child. In which case, forget everything I've said and let's start a change.org petition for child-free flights.