By Victoria D’Andrea
New Year’s Eve at Verona Airport.
I generally like travelling. Sure it’s long and boring, it’s always the same airports and flights, but in time I’ve managed to find the positives in it. I always treat myself to loads of junk food and it gives you time to think. Never in my life would I allow over 10 hours simply listening to music and mostly looking out of windows.
Today is a different story – it’s New Year’s Eve. As I look at the people around me on this greatly anticipated day, I have to wonder: what sort of people choose to spend their 31st in travel, rather than at incredible parties or big meals among family and friends?
I half expected it to be full of young and penniless people like me, tempted enough by the price difference to attempt to coordinate travel and festivities in one big day.
I am going to say this, it looks like the same sort of people that normally travel. Mainly it seems to be families with young children (but maybe I notice them more because they are so loud, the small children a hazard as they run and spin unpredictably in front of me) and a lot of couples. I like to think that the couples are slightly younger than usual, perhaps many on their first trips together. Maybe they’ve planned to start the New Year with a new adventure and a new lover, to set the standard for the year to follow.
I hear a few people that I immediately condemn as first-time travellers, the ones unsure what items they should unpack for the scan or those equipped with an exaggerated amount of appositely bought bottles and flight accessories that can’t possibly be worth the 3-hour journey.
As someone who at least three times a year finds herself in this airport, I somehow feel superior. I know all the procedures, all the shops of the airport – though Verona airport is so small that it only takes 10 minutes to get bored of the small space available.
I have generally no patience for those who seem to have never bordered a flight, forcing me to wait an additional few minutes because, somehow, they didn’t realise that you can’t bring a bottle of coke on board. In truth, I know I am jealous of their excitement at this trip (specifically Italy-UK), which for me has only become a waste of time, a symbol of leaving people behind. Every time I leave the gap becomes longer, my friends becoming slightly more adult every time I come back, slightly more different from how they used to be. Maybe that’s why I’ve been going back less and less.
Shaking those thoughts away, I start to observe my normal favourite details: shoes and clothing. The latter is not a question of fashion or colour – I am a true believer that matching colours is an invention of the fashion industry to shame those who don’t have the eye (I’m not bitter at all). Instead I check the layers. This all has origins from TV shows, where I noticed that in every scene you could find people dressed for completely different weather in the same shot. E.g. a man in a t-shirt and shorts sitting next to someone in a woolly hat and winter coat. However, I then noticed that this actually happens all the time in real life. Aha! I’m not making this up, a woman next to me right now complains about the heat – yet in the seats opposite two young men sitting in their coats.
The world is delivering exactly the thing I needed (maybe this is the sign this is going to be my year, wink wink).
The thing about writing this SCAMP is that this is the first time I actually do some work while waiting for a plane, even though it means people-watching like I always do when I fly. However, because I am so occupied with writing, I’ve actually looked at people less and ended doing more self-reflection than I usually do.
People behind me talk about Pizza in English, taking me away from my train of thought. They must be going back to England from Italy, so I wonder why are they going to get pizza for dinner after being in Italy for vacations. Would they not want to eat something different? Maybe they actually live here and are going to see relatives? But that still doesn’t make any sense, I’d still want to eat something different back into the UK.
A girl sitting a bit away says sexism and racism and laughs, definitely attracting my attention. Maybe I should go back and write this SCAMP like that French poet, simply transcribing little fragments of sentences here and there. What was his name? No idea. What’s the point of school when I can hardly remember anything I studied, apart from teasing hints of what I should know.
Too late, I’ve written this now.