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Column: Oh no, roundabouts and the airport

While I was plenty excited my mom visited earlier this month; I was not as thrilled that I would have to make a stop at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

The older I get, the list of things that drive me crazy seems more extended than a trip to the DMV. Near the top of the list is a visit to any airport. I wasn’t even flying the other day, but I knew that my blood would be boiling when I walked into the building.

It turns out that I started to get irritated a few minutes before I arrived. I know nothing about engineering, but I don’t understand roundabouts. I can’t remember ever encountering one in my early years of driving, but now they are everywhere, including right off the exit to the airport in Belgrade. Based on my experiences through these engineering feats, it seems that most people don’t have a clue what is going on either. And once you find one, there seem to be about 20 to follow.

Once I navigated through the labyrinth of roundabouts, I was close to the airport and got frustrated again as people passed me and then the theatrics of trying to find a parking spot.

Once parked, I started walking to the entrance and was almost hit by a car, not paying attention. I reacted similarly to a New York City resident screaming at a taxi, and that was actually a lot of fun.

It had been about a year since I had been in an airport, but nothing had changed. Within seconds, I heard several different people talking on speakerphone. I get the importance of letting someone know you have arrived at the airport but does the rest of the world need to know about this? Nobody wants to hear your conversation. In this day and age of fantastic technology, I also find it odd that people at the airport need to shout into their phones or hold them right to their faces.

My mom’s flight was a little bit delayed, and I had an hour to wait, so I decided to wander around the airport. I really wish I hadn’t. It was the busiest I had witnessed at this airport, and nobody was paying attention to where they were walking. I was bumped into three or four times without even the common courtesy of a sorry. I also had to navigate many people who just decided to stop walking and stand still in the middle of the airport rather than do this off to the side. It was almost like they were human versions of roundabouts.

Once I decided I had enough of the walking around, I could find a somewhat secluded seat. One of the few things I enjoy about the airport is seeing people arrive and be greeted by family and friends. That is always heartwarming and made me wish I had made a “Welcome home from prison” sign for my mom.

The people-watching was somewhat entertaining until I saw a large family running across the airport. It was not a quick jog; this was a full-on sprint. I wasn’t sure if they were close to missing their flight or had just figured out they left their ten-year-old Kevin home alone, but the theatrics were something else to witness. A few minutes later, I went to get water, and the family was just standing in the middle of the airport. Maybe they wanted attention or a nice mid-day workout, but the running seemed necessary.

The last few minutes of people-watching really honed in on what people wear to the airport. Many people were in pajamas, and I’m pretty sure I saw someone show up in a wedding dress.

I had many questions but did not want to be the stranger at the airport who needed to talk to everyone. Whenever I’m flying, I pray I don’t get someone who wants to chat next to me. I would rather sit next to a screaming baby.

Once my mom arrived, I kind of wanted to mimic the running family and get out the doors as quickly as possible.

It was a great feeling to get on the Interstate and to head east, far away from the airport.