Drink Magazine

A Few Words on … the Airport Bar

By Bryan Roth @bryandroth
A Few Words on … the airport bar

Photo via jayRez on Flickr

“The Wright Brothers would kick us all right in the $#%@ right now if they knew.” – Louis C.K.

Flying sucks.

But, as The Ones Who Invented Flight, it is our inalienable right to alter and forcefully evolve what that experience means and what relationship we have with it, imparting true American virtues of impatience, greed and contempt for anyone outside friends or family we’re traveling with.

As The Ones Who Invented Flight it is our unfortunate reality to have willingly bastardized this marvel of modern transportation into something we need, we love and then decry its virtues in order to make ourselves feel better about unforeseen circumstances that “ruin” our days. This guy gets it.

It is fitting then, that one of the best things about flying didn’t originate with us, The Ones Who Invented Flight. Thank god for the airport bar.

As a means of travel, flying is incredibly efficient and amazing. We can traverse the globe as we please. As a means of travel, flying has also been able to showcase the worst parts of us as The Ones Who Invented Flight. We complain, we push and we complain and push and passive-aggressively sigh heavy breaths until the purpose of flying comes forth – we’re just in it just to get ours.

What “ours” is could be many things, but what it is most certainly is an effort to obtain what we want at the expense of others. This is why we want the best parking at the airport, why we feel the need to form lines before we actually form a line to board the airplane and why we curse under our breath at airline employees who haven’t called our boarding group number. We lament the fact we haven’t gotten from A to B in the fastest way possible for us.

But most important, among all this insanity, we find a timeless oasis to put all of these things aside. Because for as much as the airport shows us how rampant American impatience and greed can be, it also shows us how simple it is to find common ground and swap a story or two over beer.

The airport bar is an oasis because (percentage-wise) only a select few choose to indulge. Prices are high, but the men and women who saunter up to the bar take part in the true American act of “taking a load off.” Springsteen would be proud, wouldn’t he? Blue collar raising a glass with each other, and even sometimes, executives. We drink American beers – sometimes locally made – and we share stories of where we’re from, where we’re going and why we can’t wait to get there.

At the airport bar, solo travelers find companions who may share some common ground in the need to get away from it all for a moment or two. Because at the airport bar, what makes us lousy, selfish savages Out There, whittles away to general decency In Here.

The airport bar is an oasis because it gives us strength through imbibing (responsibly) to put up with the crap. The airport bar is an oasis because when we are without friends, it reminds us of the kindness of strangers among a sea of callousness.

The airport bar is an oasis because in the midst of coming and going all over the world, what it is, in the end, is a little piece of home.

*Note: This rant love letter was inspired by lots of travel in recent months.
+Bryan Roth.

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