The airport in our city is a tiny one, consisting of two halls: pre-check-in and post-check-in (with a duty free kiosk with alcohol and chocolate). The lavatories have a storey to themselves, glorious expanses with numerous stalls and mirrors on every wall, so that one can watch oneself from every angle and see in reality how one becomes a crowd in and outside oneself. There are echoes and soap in every dispenser.
There are no people downstairs. That is because there are not so many people generally in the airport. For instance, there is never a shortage of power outlets, despite their rather limited quantity. This might be a sign of outstanding human flow management; they do seem to be able to fill the planes, at least to a certain extent.
Miraculously, however, there are always familiar faces at the airport. Those faces usually have certain distinctive features, placing them in a certain, evidently almost nomadic, ethnic group. ‘Hi,’ says High Ranking Community Executive. ‘Have you seen Notorious Religious Figure? I’m sort of hiding from him.’ ‘Hi,’ you say. ‘Yeah, I’ve seen him. Good thing he doesn’t recognize me.’
‘Hi,’ says Notorious Religious Figure. ‘What is your name? Where did you spend Important Traditional Holiday?’ ‘Hello,’ you say. ‘We went to Religious Organization #2.’ ‘Ohh,’ a resounding groan. ‘Why did you go there? Did you not know I had a beautiful celebration which was entirely free?’ By this time Religious Figure is already towering imposingly over your seat on the plane. You feel somewhat responsible for calming him down so that he does not scare the other passengers. ‘We found out too late,’ you say. The plane takes off.
In the transit airport you try to keep an eye on the Figure, but the next plane is flying to the Holy Land, so he is lost in the throng of his likes, engaged in Vigorous Religious Activity against the darkening window looking out on the departure field, full of lights planes flickering cars workers luggage trucks things. You are halfway there, at least you’ve already caught up with the holylandish laid-back attitude towards time. Your flight is being delayed, there’s time to read. The Religious Activity ought to have been performed several hours ago, but Providence must not disregard time zones. There’s time to read.