The Kinship of Midnight Travel
There is a strange sort of kinship that I feel for other people I see when I’m traveling from one place to another after midnight. Part of it is that travel after everyone is supposed to be in bed means that I see things without all the people around, denuded of the hustle and bustle that often gives a place it’s charm or stress.
But then, spotting that lone trucker at 1 AM, or the lady working the airline check in counter starting at 3:30 AM, or the security guard at 4:30 AM, I know that I’m with people that also know what it means to see a place without it’s crowds. They also have seen the empty streets, the fog, the sprinklers running in the night. They know what it is to wake before the sun, or to chase the hours into the night.
Sometimes this happens in airports, today, it happened as I was driving from Carthage, MO to Joplin, MO. I saw a trucker pulling in off the highway onto one of the commercial districts in Joplin, and was reminded of all the times I’ve traveled in the dark, either at the end of long day in airports, or at the start of a long day on the road. And, I knew, that in some small way, that trucker also knew what it was like to travel at night.
For them, it likely has lost any of the romance or novelty that I still give it. But there’s still something to be said for that most remote of connections, if for no other reason that it’s just me and that other driver on the road, neither of us lost in the crowd, both wanting to reach a destination, yet still travelling in the night.
Thing is, I won’t ever meet that person. But we still shared a space, both members of the midnight traveling clan, a space that most people actively opt-out of. Many interesting bits of life are often found at the edges, where only a few people are paying attention, rather than in the rush of the crowds, where everyone already is, and has already seen them.