TAKING OFF: It's important you wear the right clothes and put your best foot forward at airports.
TAKING OFF: It's important you wear the right clothes and put your best foot forward at airports. Bev Lacey

No man's land loves active wear

WHEN travelling it is important to wear the right clothing. Comfort is so important.

The moment I got to the airport I could see I had made the wrong sartorial decision. I had chosen a frock and boots. The world had chosen active wear. Stretch pants, sneakers and loose tops. Good choice, world. So comfortable, too easy.

Me? I looked like an English lady detective on a holiday. A quaint, eccentric and slightly daffy older woman. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

All around me were all manner of people, all ages and sizes in active wear. Young women, stocky men, neither age or build is an obstacle for the adoption of the close-fitting stretch legging and the branded sporty top. The snugger the fit, the better.

And shoes, folks - it's the sporting shoe all the way when it comes to travel. A pair of white soled brand identified sneakers and you're good to go. A stopover in Korea only made it worse. Here was a hot world of active ware. I succumbed to peer pressure and decided I must change my foot ware into something more suitable. Boots? What was I thinking?

But airports are strange places. The shops were all highbrow, expensive luxury brands. I could buy Chanel, Vuitton, Prada if I so chose. I was thinking more along the lines of some reasonable sandals. But the airport shopping choices were not designed for lesser beings like English lady detectives in search of practical footwear. They wanted me to pop in Christian Dior or Valentino. The choices were all costly and from that world of design where things are so ugly they are now fashionable.

As I pondered a pair of $300 shoes in some stylish and out-of-my-price-range shop a group of three slender, smooth skinned, dark haired women began playing chamber music in an orchid bedecked mini amphitheatre set in the long airport corridor.

I left the plush, coaxing atmosphere of the luxury shop, where I was being induced into looking at one pair of impractical shoes after another and sat down. The airport had great acoustics and the music swelled and soared in the space.

Airports are a strange kind of no man's land. Like a Buddhist concept of the Bardo (the liminal place you go after death for a wee while), they are a space between worlds. Here travellers exist in limbo. Connection is tenuous, nothing is going to last, people go into neutral and try to get to the other side as smoothly as possible.

Maybe the luxury shops are there to show what could or might be, to give you a glimpse of other elevated ways of being as you float along. I gave up on the shoes. I listened to music, drank tea (like a good English lady detective), listened to the music and went to my gate, early.

I would sit and wait till I had release from the airport Bardo.

I would try to not attract attention, cooperate with the systems and with luck and a fair wind, be on my way.


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