International travel offers some prime opportunities for people watching. If Garrison Keillor is right about being part of a throng as one of the essential experiences of being at the State Fair, each airport is a new State Fair of humanity. The sounds of people speaking different languages disorient us, the smells of various things good and bad annoy, delight, and disgust us. I always love how the Memphis airport smells like a BBQ pit. It brings the comfort of knowing that there’s a vendor nearby hawking something tasty on a stick or a bun. Then there’s the guy who stops by a small construction area in DFW International to relieve himself…twenty meters before the restroom ahead of him. How about the only flight attendant aboard the plane who wears corn rows referring to herself as Ms. Chocolate? Endless sources of amusement all.
Now I’m in Uganda, where I get watched and cajoled and laughed at by strangers who enjoy watching people as much as I do. I’m okay with that. Then they’ll be the ones who get to pretend that their version of humanity doesn’t seem just as ridiculous to someone as mine seems to them.