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2002-11-15 5:04 p.m.

I lost the rubber grommet that holds my tongue piercing in place, so I had to take the piercing out. I thought a safe place to sit the piercing jewelry would be on the tray that my specially–ordered–the–week–before fish dinner came on. I should have known that this was a bad idea—I sat my retainers on a tray and promptly threw them away at a Taco Bell in Oregon when I was 16. Doesn't matter. I have two more pieces of tongue jewelry in my checked luggage. And I left my retainers at home this time.

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I slept through most of the flight. In the few moments I was not sleeping, I watched two episodes of Sifl & Olly on my iBook, listened to the mix CD Tollef made for me, and trudged through tedious grammar in my Swedish text book. My Swedish is terrible—I had to look up almost every single word I came across in the dictionary.

The landing was bumpy and I wondered what sort of tires they used on airplanes and whether they were plump and round like cake doughnuts or flat and wide like a wedding ring.

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I stepped off of the plane and into a robotic tube gangway that connected my aircraft and hundreds of planes before it to a series of convoluted hallways and corridors, through which passengers shuffle and drag luggage and children and pockets full of airline peanuts and wadded–up tissues taken from the airplane's lavatory. This was where I noticed the first distinctive smell of my trip.

Smell #1: Carpet where smoking was once permitted, but now is not.

The smell of cigarette smoke is not strong, as the carpets have probably been shampooed once—but definitely not more than once—since smoking was banned in these corridors. There is not even a hint of another smell, as nothing else happens in these hallways for more than an instant. These are spaces for walking out of.

Departing passengers in search of some final destination want nothing more than to leave these hallways as soon as possible. Airport architects are paid well to acutely understand the unique needs of the people that will use this space and planned it accordingly—there are no benches or trash bins or art that might inspire someone to pause. There is only walking and carting luggage and distracted thoughts of the next hop in that particular person's journey.

Nobody lingers here, so there are none of the sights or sounds or smells of sewing rooms or cooking or motor oil or perfume or the gardening section of a hardware store. The only smell is fossilized smoke and the only sound is footsteps that don't stop.

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Once I got inside Heathrow Terminal 1, I noticed something strange. Nobody was fucking.

It was insane. They have this huge space with all sorts of spaces for eating and showering and smoking and pissing and shopping and sitting and standing and walking and talking. But not for fucking. Nobody—at least not anyone that I could see—was even kissing or groping or squeezing or molesting anyone or anything.

I'm sorry, sir, but this is a no fucking area.

Not that I really expected there to be any such thing going on here. But, why should there not be? Why is it that we expect the absence of fucking at airports? Has anyone investigated as to whether or not this expectation is in our best interest?

Maybe the crusade of our generation should be to bring international airport intercourse back into fashion! Airport sex: It's the new black. People should practice random acts of kind fucking to airport workers, pilots, and weary travellers of all ages.

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Andie on my lap. The open window in the foreground is this diary entry.

Andie is asleep right now in a warm bed, and I am awake in a very far away place. But at least I have a picture of her with me at all times.