VAARWEL ALBINA SABINAL
Constantly lugging mental and physical baggage and other worldly possessions from one country or foreign city to another you could say constitutes a somewhat nomadic existence. In the hall near pier 26 a woman of about fifty years of age is sitting next to me, in her hands a shaking boarding pass.
Fear of flying or other nerves? I imagine how beautiful she must once have been. On a large screen in front of us in the waiting area I suddenly find myself in the eighteenth century, while music by the Bee Gees comes from small loudspeakers. It is possible to travel in time. After all, I have to put my watch back; three hours. And then soon another four hours flying before…
The woman now says that she is going to meet her future lover, whom she got to know on the Internet, for the first time… in Brazil. People aren’t travelling less because of the Internet, telephone and fax, but, on the contrary, much more, she maintains; ‘it’s clear there is no way back, that airports and department stores will be the nodes, the meeting places of the future.’ In the toilet, I remove my excess beard growth. The waiting time in this No Man’s Land is absurdly long this time. Enough time for me to imagine how two bullets fired simultaneously behind and in front of an aeroplane give a different velocity in relation to the passenger. Or to start reading ‘Albina Sabinal’, the bestseller of Jalpan. My mobile starts ringing in my suitcase, but I am too late opening the combination lock. Later I remember that I have left the torch on inside. Are the keys in my coat pocket? Like a metaphysical aquarium with floating objects, my suitcase glides past the monitor once again. Another long wait.
The first thing the dimensions 32 x 44 x 7 cm bring to mind is of course a suitcase. Not only because these dimensions are roughly the dimensions of most suitcases. But also because the volume in relation to average weight provides just enough space for the most essential items you need when travelling. Items which, incidentally, refer to a world outside ourselves, such as a mobile telephone, a watch, a book with an x-ray on the cover, a compass, a magnifying glass, a map, keys, a camera with travel photos. During yet another long wait somewhere at an airport I was amazed by the enigmatic beauty that passed by on the x-ray monitors of the security personnel. Because each material has a different colour on the screen – for example, glass appears green, textile appears orange – these everyday objects seem enchanted, and also because of the strange isometric – not distorted by the eye – perspective. In the ordinary everyday hustle and bustle at such an airport, these images once again confirm one’s disquieting awareness of the existence of billions of apparently completely different co-existent realities.