To Be Childlike And Not Childish

June 04, 2017

In Issue 104 of Monocle, Josh Fehnert wrote a short piece on adults in airports needing to "act their age." He observed a man and woman engaging in "infantile" activities (the woman was playing a loud game on her phone and the man was colouring in a dinosaur in his colouring book - in a suit, no less!). This prompted the following statement from Fehnert:

Maybe it's the rules of airports that revert some to their school days: put your phone in this box and our laptop in that, stand here, wait there [...] People need to grow up - but so do the retailers that cater to us before lift-off."

I don't know what happened to warrant such comments but they're overzealous in my opinion. No amount of self help books can mask the turmoil of everyday life, particularly after recent events in the US, UK, and everyday across the world. Politicians show a continuous lack of awareness and spread fear amongst their citizens to keep them in control. We're constantly being told the food we eat causes any number of ailments - from dementia to cancer - and some may well contribute to that and other health problems like obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Racism is rife, the gulf between rich and poor continues to grow as well as disparity between genders, disabilities, religions. So when two adults want to engage in activities that bring them momentary joy before their holiday or business meeting or whatever they're travelling for, should they stop what they're doing and "grow up?" No.

We all need some downtime and relief from the world around us. Relaxation is fundamental for our mental health. Life is stressful enough as it is. I love the airport but I've not always enjoyed the process of getting their, sorting out the bags, checking you've got your passport, checking in, baggage drop offm boarding passes, going through customs, taking stuff out of your bags, being searched, all the incessant queueing. Where's the respite? If a man wants to use a colouring book and a woman play on her phone, just let them. Who are they harming? It's not business of anyone to be telling someone how to live their lives unless they cause undue pain on others. This does not fall in that category. Now if you'll excuse me, there's a spacehopper outside with my name on it.