At the Adelaide International (and domestic) Airport

10 Aug

This morning, I dropped my father off at the airport, because he is going on a short trip. This is a job I performed with the good grace and maturity you would expect from someone my age. I do not have a photograph of myself being graceful. Such moments are hard to capture on film.

At this time of the day, there are very few Men in Suits at the Adelaide Airport, because by now they have been in their Very Important Meetings for well over two hours. There are, however, very many people using their out-in-public tone of voice to say: ‘I told you to stay away from there.’ Also because they are in public, they add such reasonable codas as: ‘it’s dangerous, and I don’t want you to hurt yourself’.


Here is my father’s plane. As he was boarding, I squinted for a bit, and it made him look like a rock star boarding his private jet after last night’s sold-out performance at the Entertainment Centre.

These are some of the places from which people will be arriving today. They will also depart for these places. However, I happen to know that you cannot go buy a ticket to Moomba without getting permission from someone or other. When you get to Moomba, you get a drink bottle and training on how to recognise the signs of thirst. This is second-hand knowledge. Live vicariously or not at all.

Here are some faux-retro bottom-holders:

Which are, I imagine, the kinds of things you can whip next door and get from here:
I can’t say for sure, because it is a place where I have never been.

The newspaper stands in airports make me feel connected to the rest of the world and today I bought two newspapers, but one of them was The Advertiser. The woman behind the counter made me hand the newspapers to her so that she could scan them, and I was a bit scared of her fingernails. They were long, and the nailpolish was more than a little chipped. They are the kind of nails which are too thick to bite. For some reason instead of taking a photo of the newspapers, I took a photo of the books and magazines.

For a long time after my father’s plane has taken off, I watch the planes coming and going, even though I know that it will cost me a fortune in car park fees.

In a few minutes, this plane will turn to the left and fly directly over my grandfather’s house. When I was young and slept on a fold up bed in the smallest room of his house, the planes woke me up in the morning because I wasn’t used to them. I think of the times I was living in places away from Adelaide, and my grandfather came to meet me. My father would have done it, but he lived two and half hours away. More by bus. I remember how flat and how purple Adelaide used to look to me then. I think of the meetings in Sydney I don’t go to anymore. I think of the trip to London I made last year, and how it was, being two flights away from my boys. I think of the trip to Portugal my heart wouldn’t let me make.

I think of saying goodbye and of saying hello.

It is just a trip to the airport, but nothing is straightforward.

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3 Responses to “At the Adelaide International (and domestic) Airport”

  1. hasarder August 11, 2006 at 2:43 am #

    Purple Adelaide?

    Are you thinking of how the hills used to be all purple?

    I used to love that as a kid, I thought they were beautiful. Later in life the greenie in me accepted that salvation jane was a bad thing and had to go. But secretly, I still think back to how much I loved going down the freeway to town and seeing the purple hills spread out before me…

  2. ThirdCat August 11, 2006 at 2:50 am #

    I’d forgotten about the salvation jane!

    I don’t know why, but arriving home from Auckland, Adelaide just seemed to have this kind of purple/grey haze. It was very soft and very beautiful, and I thought it came from the eucalypts. And of course it was partly the contrast to Auckland’s intense green.

  3. BlueBolt August 13, 2006 at 12:25 pm #

    I was thinking this the other day driving down south – the hills used to be purple with Salvation Jane. I’m pleased that the hills are now being planted out with trees – but that shade of purple was glorious.

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