There are life lessons to be learned in airports. There’s the wonted Wait your turn in line and Leave the bathroom sink area the way you’d like to find it. But I’ve found that some of the most valuable revelations to be had lie in words of wisdom used by advertisers in the poster-size ads that speckle those endless corridors of moving walkways (you know the walkways I mean: “This moving walkway is about to end. This moving walkway is about to end.”)
So, I have two favorites. One, in Heathrow, is an ad for a bank:
“The more you look at the world, the more you recognise that people value the same things but in different ways.”
The second is in Prague’s international airport, right before you walk outside:
“There’s a big wide world out there, and it’s all yours.”
(I’ve never questioned how this relates to Johnny Walker whiskey, the item being advertised).
Have you ever seen these, or ones like them that make you smile? I can be fairly critical when it comes to advertising and the messages spread by media and industries in this age of modernity, through the millions of ads everywhere we go, but I admit I’m a big fan of these sorts of endearing, uplifting ads. And talk about successful advertising – I not only remember the ads above, but I couldn’t forget what item/thing being advertised if I wanted to.
And then there are the creative labels on the backs of wine bottles, like the one I just poured myself a glass from:
“Grapes, sun, wind, a dash of daring, unfiltered laughter, the feeling of leaving work at three on a Thursday, the rush of having your favorite café name a dessert after you, the pride of filling page six of your passport… in other words, flavors of mixed berry and mellow cherry, with a velvet finish like a jazz solo ‘round midnight.”
Who wouldn’t want to drink words like that? Life may not be that carefree – and a bottle of wine may give you all or none of those things – but it’s nice to see such simple, enjoyable things grouped together. It’s comforting to recognize things that appeal to us, things we’d like, either a little bit or a lot bit. Am I right?
Well. What I actually sat down to share were the words of a nine-year-old friend of mine. Sarah, who was over visiting a week or so ago, is half-German and half-American and speaks both English und Deutsch fluently. Everything she says comes across as fresh and unique to me, and I’m coming to realize just how much creativity and wonderment lie in the thoughts and words of young children. After being ridiculed a little bit by her older brother, Ian, for example, Sarah retorted back, I will bash your brains like a melon on a hot summer day!
I couldn’t even berate her; I was too amused by the most creative threat I’d ever heard.
Later, we sat outside on my balcony, holding hands and discussing future careers. I just don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, Sarah said. Once it was a painter, then a vet, then a baker, and now I just don’t know! She was baffled when I told her I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grow up. I wonder, at what age are older people considered grown up in the eyes of little ones? I remember being ten and watching my favorite fifteen-year-old family friend and babysitter skirt around her room, putting on makeup and playing with her stereo. She seemed so old to me, so foreign. I was captivated. I wanted to be just like her.
Swinging my hand back and forth, Sarah brought me back to reality (except, to my delight, not really): I’ve always wanted a balcony like this, she said. I told her, Sarah, you can have a balcony like this someday. She replied, Things just stop, in the wind. Do you know?
I kind of do, I thought to myself. Thank goodness; I kind of do.