Daraius: We’ve got a great team at Million Mile Secrets helping with posts. But I miss writing as much as I did in the old days! So here I am writing about stuff that I really care about (and which isn’t all miles-and-points related).
“Airports see more sincere kisses than wedding halls. The walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of churches.” – Unknown
I have a confession.
I don’t really remember many of the movies I’ve watched. But I remember, very clearly, the opening scene from Love Actually, which was shot at London’s Heathrow airport using real-life folks.
I cried when I first watched it. And still do, when I re-watch it.
That ~1 minute introduction is 1 of the most warm, upbeat, and moving piece of film which I’ve watched. And it’s even set in an airport! 🙂
Here’s a transcription of the opening sequence, for those of y’all who don’t want to watch the movie clip (though I’d love it if you did).
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that.
It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.
When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love.
If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
Why I Love Airports
I like airports for all the usual reasons – the sense of astonishment that flying in a pressurized metal container is even possible, the feeling of excitement when I get on a plane, and the anticipation of arriving at my destination and exploring new cultures and food (even if it is just a routine trip to Chicago!)
Airports energize and relax me. 🙂
But – just like the narrator in the movie clip – airports, more than anything else, encourage and reassure me that all is well with the world and that “love [NOT hate] is all around” if you look for it!
In this age of increasing intolerance to diversity of opinions, and lack of compassion and empathy, it is very easy to tune into the “news” and believe that the world is full of hatred and misery. And that people – either in our town or strangers far, far away – are out to get us.
Now I’m not saying I’m perfect. Because I’ve, sometimes, let my fear, anger, and suspicion get the better of me with my family, friends and strangers.
But all it takes is a visit to any airport in the world to see that this is just. Not. True.
6 Kinds of Love in Airports
The scene opens with a long shot of folks hugging outside the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport. And I’ve seen similar scenes at EVERY airport I’ve been.
The ancient Greeks had a much more nuanced definition of love and identified 6 different types of love.
I’ve seen all these in airports!
1. Ludus (Playful Love): Kids playing in the terminal oblivious to their stressed-out parent. And strangers bantering and flirting in the bar.
2. Philia (Friendship): 3 guys enthusiastic chatting about their upcoming fishing trip. And the group of college students loudly and excitedly sharing their study abroad experiences.
3. Eros (Romantic Love): Lovers giving each other just one “last” kiss, before looking wistfully at each other…and then running together for 1 more kiss or hug.
4. Pragma (Longstanding Love): The elderly couple walking hand-in-hand through the airport.
5. Agape (Love for Everyone): The businessman who gives a hand to the single mom with 2 babies and 3 bags.
6. Philautia (Self-Love & Acceptance): In the crowd of folks waiting for the flight, the regular-looking person you notice for their unmistakable inner-peace and calm and beatific smile.
I’ve seen lots more expressions of love in airports.
Mothers & fathers with big smiles waiting for their kids to emerge. Family members of folks in the military waiting expectantly with balloons, and cookies, and flowers.
All of which make me smile and feel blissful and appreciative to be alive!
Growing up in India, it was common to pile into the car and go with my family just to pick-up or drop-off someone going to the airport. The large crowds outside Indian airports are mostly family members eagerly awaiting (or sending off) their loved ones! Yes, really.
And, outside the airport, folks would Hug. And Kiss. And Cry. And Smile. And Laugh. And Wave. And garland their loved ones with colorful flowers.
That’s why the opening scene from Love Actually is my favorite travel themed film clip.
I much prefer the message of love, joy, and togetherness in Love Actually to the bitter, emptiness of George Clooney’s elite status card-dropping character in Up in the Air (a movie which many frequent flyers adore).
So look around the next time you’re at an airport. You just may be surprised at what you really see!
They say love is blind. But I say, too often we’re blind to love. So look closely the next time you’re at an airport. Open your eyes and heart to see all kinds of love…love anxiously waiting, love sadly departing, love safely arriving back home….love is all around.