Whatever happened to the old airports? I expected to spend my layover in the stark terminals and stiff rows of plastic chairs I remembered from the youth. As I wandered about, searching for the gate to my connector flight, I was stunned to find this would not be the case. Instead, I’d be spending the next several hours trapped inside a shopping mall. Now, rather than sleeping sprawled across three uncomfortable chairs, or getting drunk on $8 Budweiser, I could buy gadgets for my computer, foreign language CDs, or even a stylish jacket at Wilson’s Leather. I could even get a massage or manicure while I waited for my new purchase to be gift-wrapped. There is even a store exclusively selling luggage, in case you forgot yours at home and are tired of carrying your clothes and PDAs stuffed into your pockets. The choices are endless.
The really disturbing part is that the people crowding the shops and the immense food-courts are the most beautiful people you’ve ever seen. Many young. Stylish. Glamourous. It’s as if the teeny-boppers of the shopping malls graduated up to milling around airports on their 19th birthday. Of course, all races seemed to be represented, but if you’re not white, chances are you’re standing behind a counter, wearing some kind of uniform, serving these pale, perfect people.