On airports, colour blindness and time alone

People laugh at my passion for airports. I visit them with pleasure for drop offs and pickups but prefer not to pass through to other places. Unless I have to. 

We drove out this morning to farewell my husband. He’s off to Bali with friends for ten days. Early enough and more so given we lose an hour to slip into daylight savings.

A six am start was actually a five am start in the old money. An overcast day so the light broke without any sun to be seen and modest temperatures, typical of spring, a strange even-handedness in the air despite the sense that winds would re-erupt soon enough once whatever change in store eventuated. 

I had thought I’d arrive home and go straight back to sleep. Equally, I thought I’d be wide awake, too awake to let sleep return and so it is. 

The airport is already a blur. Every time I visit some new reconstruction has affected the layout. The doors that opened and shut like a shark’s jaws have now been replaced by automatic pass through entrances and exits as at train stations. 

Before we left, as my husband slipped a light jumper over his head in readiness for the day and his trip, I found myself looking at his shoes on our bedroom floor. A row of Keens shoes, comfortable shoes that he prefers to buy in multiples. Not one pair but two.

They are well worn and much loved but not over-worn and the openings into which my husband slips his feet when empty now look like a choir of open mouths. The one squished together in a grin, another a full circle of astonishment, a third more a scream. 

A contrast to the bright white open bustle of the airport. 

A year ago, I bought a special pair of sunglasses for my husband’s birthday. Glasses that allow the colour blind to see colour. There are a series of you tube clips in the advertising site for Enchroma glasses for people who see colour for the first time and they sometimes weep. 

My husband was more restrained when on the evening of his birthday he first tried them out. These were sunglasses. He needed full sun to enjoy them.

Even the next day he seemed lacklustre in his enthusiasm, as was my grandson who tried on these glasses, too. 

My grandson is also colour blind. It runs in families, carried by the females but copped by the males.

A year later, this morning, my husband told me he had packed his Enchroma sunglasses and my heart sang a little song of joy to imagine the pleasure he might find in Bali when he sees the colours of that island more clearly than ever before.

2 thoughts on “On airports, colour blindness and time alone”

  1. I was forty the first time I flew anywhere. Airports were not a big thing in my life and I’d only been in one before but I did like being around the planes, watching them take off and land. Never ceases to amaze me how they can get 500 tons of metal to stay aloft and I feel pretty much the same about ocean liners. I mean I get the science (well, -ish) but that doesn’t mean I don’t wonder at it.

    I also now wonder how on earth sunglasses can help you see colours. My daughter’s partner is colour blind so I’ll be passing on the details.

  2. Check out the Enchroma website, Jim. They feature lots of clips of people seeing colour for the first time. My husband tried it in Bali and he reckons the colours are brighter but he cannot identify them by name and so it doesn’t help him much. For him growing up without the colours identifiable leaves the greater gap. Thanks, Jim.

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