The Terminal Man

I think I am The Terminal Man

I have just, unwillingly but oddly rewardingly, spent several hours in Adelaide airport. I took a chance that the good people of the flying kangaroo might reward my support of and loyalty to them with an empty seat on an earlier flying carriage to my home town. Alas this was not to be so, there I sat with several free hours up my sleeve and not a lot else to do but plot the best way forward for our new Federal Government and determine how to best save humankind from itself. 

My 5 hours there was nothing like the 17 years spent at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris as experienced by Mehran Karimi Nassiri (made famous by the Tom Hanks film, The Terminal Man, loosely based on the book of the same name by Nassiri and author Andrew Donkin). Although for some time late in to the third hour and early in to the fourth, I was sure I had been here for a day and a half. 



Unencumbered by anyone to whom I had to provide attention or to engage in meaningful or mindless conversation, I afforded myself the pleasure to simply spend the time doing something I just love – to people watch. I love this passive, sometimes lazy pursuit of people watching – wondering about or creating the stories of the short term occupants of a small city airport. 

The epic was filled with a variety of exciting moments, the one most curious distraction was the supposed arrival of 1/5 of one of the worlds most popular pop boy bands. Shouting young girls, women, the odd gay fellow, amateur and professional snappers all gathered  and shouting “Harry Harry!” in a cacophonous chorus. I don’t know if he arrived and was whisked away privately, but the sudden departure of a number of police and the thundering stampede of hundreds of the assembled running through the airport to another gate or arrival spot would suggest that perhaps he had arrived.

But what of the remainder? Witnessing teary farewells from children to parents on a Sunday at the terminal as they commute off to places to far away to drive… The robust reunions of lovers and partners, husbands and wives, parents with children and grandchildren, are sights that are enjoyed in airports the world over, and are always heartwarming. 

The most, though, are the stories one has to fantasise to one’s  self. A woman in her early twenties arrived from who knows where and is sobbing and sniffling in to a telephone.  Has she lost someone to death or to failed love? Has a simple plan gone awry? 

The morose young man with headphones blaring some thing that can barely be called music, piercings profuse as they are prolific and tattoos a plenty… I cannot judge him and I have no idea of his lot in life. Do I assume that I know these stories or can I let my imagination run wild, or am I just having a sugar rush from the donut that I should neither have purchased nor consumed. 

There are still girls with cameras and iPads, determined and possibly convinced that, as yet, the pop star has not arrived. Their sentences are punctuated with the word like used too many times in each. They eat from brown bags filled with fries and others trans fats, staving off their hunger as they wait, hoping for a glimpse of their idol. Their muted discussions are proof that they are sure the star has not arrived, and according to one miss, Harry tracker on her iPad is positive that he is somewhere over Bordertown as we speak. 


I remain ever fascinated by these microcosms of humanity, where regardless of what we assume, each traveller here does have  their own unique story to share. I remain more curious than when I started. 


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