Well, I made it to Colombia! My first few days here have been a whirlwind, and I seem to be fighting a bit of altitude sickness (Bogotá sits at over 8,000 feet above sea level), but I’ve met some truly wonderful people in my teacher cohort. Through we’ve been in training all day, I’ve gotten enough of a peek at what’s going on outside our little conference-type bubble that my interest is piqued to explore the city more when we have free time over the weekend. More on that later, but first…
This probably falls somewhere on the ‘weird’ spectrum between ‘kind of odd’ and ‘downright bizarre’, but I really freakin’ love airports. It’s such an honest slice of humanity: people constantly coming and going, emotions at their most raw and honest, and, my favorite part: people-watching and style-scoping. After having been in dozens of airports over the years, I’ve identified several archetypes of some folks you’re most likely to spot whilst en route to your destination:
- Businessdouche™ in a completely nonsensical youth pastor-esque getup (jeans in an awful wash, usually too baggy, with a billowy white button-up shirt and topped with an ugly suit jacket), beat-up laptop bag slung over his shoulder and yakking on a cell phone at max volume
- Packs of loud dudes guffawing to other loud dudes. Signature accessories: Baseball hat with a golf brand on it and Oakley wrap sunglasses perched on top, wedding band in a really awful metal/color, old ratty fishing-themed t-shirt, cell phone holster
- Mom wrangling multiple children, all of them coughing and none covering their mouths
- Young couple in love, making out in the gate area while trying to physically occupy the same space and generally making everyone around them uncomfortable
- Woman clad in yoga gear, may or may not be doing stretches and meditative techniques
I’m never surprised when I see people looking like they just crawled out of bed, and I’d like to think I’m not the only now who’s disconcerted by this. In my mind, when we go out in public, we’re presenting ourselves to the world at large, and while I can certainly empathize with wanting to be comfortable, there are ways of accomplishing that without wearing one’s pajamas. Essentially, it’s an issue of respect, both for one’s own appearance and for those sharing the space around you.
As an example, here’s my latest airport ensemble for flying into Bogotá:
This is not “dressed up” by any stretch. I’m wearing a VERY comfortable cotton blend jumpsuit, a denim jacket, and flat black leather shoes. I’m casual, but not completely sloppy, and I was quite comfortable the entire day. Even if what I have on isn’t your style, the magic combination of versatility, comfort and presentability can absolutely be accomplished in any number of ways.
No. And if you’re still not convinced that Crocs are terrible, there’s this.
I for one am fed up with people who treat the airport and planes like their own personal comfort lounge, as though it’s not a shared space with multitudes of other people. I’ve seen some baffling behavior and looks at the airport in my time, and I think we can all do better.
Put your shoes on. No flip-flops. And don’t even think about reaching for pajama pants and your old college hoodie when you’re headed out on a flight. Just think about it: you’re on display, whether you like it or not. You never know who you’ll run into! What if you ran into an old flame or, god forbid, your boss in an airport? It always pays to at least look presentable, if for no other reason than to feel good about yourself and the image you’re projecting to the world at large.
So this is my call to action: an urgent cry that we all elevate ourselves, present our public personas in the best possible light, and have enough respect for one another to put our shoes on and forgo the yoga pants when we fly. Is that too much to ask?