You never know what’s going to start that old writing hunger growling in your belly. Tonight, it’s a two-hour layover in the Phoenix airport. The pilot said it’s 100 degrees outside (at 9:00 p.m.), but in here it’s just stuffy, as if the thick rose-brown air we cut through in our descent into the valley followed us inside. It really doesn’t matter where you are: Phoenix, Philadelphia (my next stop on the round-the-country trip from Portland to Honesdale), or London . . . every airport looks/feels/sounds/smells the same. The word prepackaged comes to mind.
But wait! Something different! Astounding! A guy just rode by on a bicycle. I kid you not! Right down the airport corridor–wearing a helmet, for goodness sakes, as if the carpeted floor wouldn’t cushion a fall. Who is this guy? How can he be riding a bicycle inside an airport concourse? As he zooms past again, I see that he’s some kind of security officer, dressed in black complete with flashlight and walkie-talkie clipped to his belt. Guess he’s on the beat. But what if? What if it hadn’t been a security guard? Who else might ride a bike through an airport? Why?
Maybe each of you will want to explore this question. Each of you might imagine a different person pedaling through the airport, shoulders hunched, hair standing on end. Why is he/she riding? Is he/she pedaling toward something or away from something? What will happen when the authorities catch sight of him/her? Or maybe you’ll think back to the strangest thing you ever saw during an airport layover . . . or maybe you’ll imagine something you didn’t actually see but wish you had. Explore. Play. Write. Let the hunger growl and grow!