A new mood at the airport

It started on the cab ride. It might have been because our driver found out that I had lived in Ethiopia for three years. He was eager to fill us in on his birthplace right by the magnificent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. And then we heard about his immigration to the US when he was eighteen and his marriage and the new twins that were added to his brood of three to make a household of seven.

I admit I encouraged the conversation by recalling sites we had seen in Dire Dawa, Harrar, and a memorable trout fishing trip in the Bali Mountains. He was delighted by my renditions of tenastiling and endeminau. He told us he had taken his kin back home to show them from where they came. His daughter Abigail was not impressed. She missed her toys.

But it wasn’t just him. People seem to enjoy talking to each other again. The Delta worker at the check-in counter was all smiles. And the guy in front of me to get food had a strategizing session with the restaurant worker about what size beer he could down and still comfortably make it to his gate. From the eye gestures it seemed as if te only had to cross the corridor. He settled on a small draft.

Sure- it’s late afternoon on a Saturday and the passenger levels are low. But if this is an outcome of the post-covid world, I’ll take it. Let’s put an end to brief electronic messages and enjoy the spontaneity and warmth of human conversation.