Jen Gienapp: Airports

Monday, August 7, 2017 - by Jen Gienapp

I love people watching, and while my youngest son calls it “stalking”, I resist that notion and find it so fascinating. There’s no better place to do it than at an airport.

I’ve spent hours over the years watching people at the departure islands as well as the arrivals. I can’t figure out which one I love more.

Yesterday, I watched a man and a little girl drop off some grandparents. There were many tears shed mostly by the little girl, and heartfelt hugs just kept going. It struck me so much that I had to approach the grandparents to tell them it affected me, because the love was so obvious. Then another bystander chimed in, “me, too!”

There’s something so exciting about seeing someone running to a family member or friend for a great hug, as they arrive. Have they not seen each other in weeks, months or years? I wonder about their stories.

On the other hand, there’s something so sad about seeing a young couple hugging and kissing with their goodbyes. Is she or he headed for a deployment or a big move to another city? What is their story?

Both arrivals and departures make me tear up.

There’s the family unloading all of their stuff out of a cab, ready for a big trip and full of excitement, and then the other family haling a cab after a long flight, trying to maneuver a still-sleeping one-year old in his car seat into the car without waking him up.

I’m intrigued by the stories of the businessmen/women I see who are so full of purpose, and the pilots/flight attendants who either look ready for their flights or are exhausted from one they just performed.

Then there are the curbside employees. I’ve found them to be the most interesting to talk to. There’s the guy who walks up and down, making sure people aren’t parking too long, and there’s the cop bicycling back and forth, always paying attention to the guy walking, in case he needs to intervene. And then there are the guys who just keep loading heavy bags and strollers and who knows what else at the curbside check-in, and the bags magically disappear down a belt and elevator, headed for a plane.

There are also surprises that happen at airports. It might be a proposal, or just simply some siblings reuniting, but they’re always fun to see. 

I really love airports, and I think they might be the best place to observe human nature at its best.

Rivers To Oceans: An Evening With Ocean Explorer Fabien Cousteau

It’s almost unimaginable anyone would give a preschooler a weight belt, mask and air tank and invite them to dive into the open ocean. Unless of course, his or her last name is Cousteau. “I’ve been SCUBA diving since my fourth birthday,” laughs Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of famed ocean advocate and documentarian Jacques Cousteau. “It’s always been an integral part of my life. ... (click for more)

This Week's Tennessee Tourism Round Up

 Witness fire breathers, compete in a city-wide scavenger hunt, join an interpretive hike, watch a free movie under the stars, strike a pose with yoga on the field, listen to live music or go to festivals like the Smithville Fiddler’s Jamboree. Here are the events going on across Tennessee this week. For a complete list, visit . Ongoing ... (click for more)

Alexander Says There Is No Doubt Russia Interfered In 2016 Presidential Election

Senator Lamar Alexander on Monday released the following statement on Russia:   “There is no doubt that Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election. On July 3, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a bipartisan report that agreed with the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election. Last ... (click for more)

Senator Watson And Rep. Hazlewood Ask TDOT To Move Swiftly On Highway 127 Road Project Up Signal Mountain

State Senator Bo Watson (R-Hixson) and Rep. Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain) have asked the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to move swiftly on the Highway 127 project leading up Signal Mountain. In a sternly-worded letter, the lawmakers asked TDOT Commissioner John Schroer to prioritize the road project due to further deterioration of the road. ... (click for more)

Here We Go Again With The Same Cummings Highway, 12th Street Flooding - And Response

Here we go again with the same pitiful news reports about the Cummings Highway Interstate interchange with I-24 - Flooding yet again after a heavy rain.  TDOT is derelict in not having repaired this years ago.  How hard is it to get some excavators out there to dig up the collapsed drainage pipes which TDOT says are the cause of the flooding and replace them with ... (click for more)

Deal With The Graffiti Vandals

I travel to other neat old cities and don't see nearly the graffiti vandalism as in Chattanooga. Why do we allow one or two or three repeat vandals to mar our venerable Walnut Street Bridge, the pillars to the Holmberg Bridge, the remodeled Chief John Ross Market Street Bridge, the walls along our multi-million-dollar Riverwalk, our sidewalks, street signs and our old limestone ... (click for more)