My Love-Hate Relationship with the Pearson International Airport

1 Sep

There’s a line Hugh Grant’s character in Love Actually recites while considering Heathrow International Airport in London. He says:

“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 sneaking suspicion… love actually is all around.”

And this is very much the way I’ve always felt about airports. They’re usually the only places in the city where people of all different races, tribes, and religions congregate to welcome home loved ones. Sometimes it’s only been a couple weeks, sometimes there are tearful reunions, put on display for a world of perfect strangers to see. No one ever rolls their eyes in disgust of their emotion. No one is ever unhappy to see someone again after an absence. Most everyone in the arrivals section of the airport is happy, excited, waiting for someone whom they’ve been waiting for… and it’s always a beautiful feeling when the waiting is over.

But it’s funny how much a tone can change on such a short escalator ride; for at the Toronto Pearson International Airport, those departing are transported skyward, and the ascent is flavoured too much like a voyage to heaven. Friends and family wait in line as their loved ones check into their flights early. Overpriced coffee shops are often dotted with tearful goodbyes, or promises of seeing one another soon – some of which will never be fulfilled.

Goodbyes are often so hard, and coming from someone who has had so many of them this year, I can tell you that there is a sickly sweetness in the melancholy of goodbye; whether it be forever, or for only a few months. Even if for a moment, there’s a period of time afterwards where you’re left with the feeling that although someone is gone, they’re still with you, and that in itself is such a beautiful feeling.

So you see, there’s really nothing to hate about the airport, even though it might seem like there is at the time. People coming, people going, friends returning, and loved ones leaving – all of it such a rich tapestry of emotion housed in marvels of engineering and architecture.

Truly humanity at it’s finest.


One Response to “My Love-Hate Relationship with the Pearson International Airport”

  1. June September 1, 2011 at 4:23 PM #

    sigh….I loved this post!

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