We took a taxi to the airport. On the way, motorists were honking, zigzagging, driving aggressively. But, when asked, our driver said driving a taxi in Rome didn’t stress him out. Like Don Ruiz who says “don’t take it personally”, he’d learned over the years to detach himself from emotional driving and just concentrate on getting where he had to go.
At an intersection, our driver cut in front of a woman on a scooter because, he explained, she’d hesitated. Whoever is not sure about what they are doing will be obliterated by someone who does. Furthermore, to avoid a traffic buildup the number one rule is to keep traffic moving.
So from the taxi driver I learned that “hesitation breaks the flow” and “impose upon others before others impose upon you”.
Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport is better known as Fiumicino because it’s near the canal of Fiumicino. It’s an airport like all the others in that it’s a transition space filled with strangers who submit themselves to invasive security checks and high prices just to get from somewhere to somewhere else.
According to French anthropologist, Marc Augé, airports are non-places. A non-place depersonalizes. In airports, we’re no longer individuals but simply part of a multitude that’s herded from one space to another. The only thing we have in common with others is our transience.
An airport is a place where the generic and not the specific is created. An airport is about transition and temporality. An airport, because it incites no sense of belonging, leaves one anchorless.
On the plane I thought about all the destinations I’ve had. And how ephemeral a destination is because once you arrive, “destination” no longer exists.
You know you’ve arrived when there becomes here.
Augé, Marc. Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity. Verso Books. London. 2009