The liminal needs lubrication.
For some reason, that phrase was running through my head all day as we flew from LAX to Charlotte, then on to Raleigh-Durham, facing insane security lines, frustrated passengers and our own throbbing lumbar pain crammed into row 31. In our extended family, we have defined the “liminal” as the place where two very different states of being meet.
It could be the murky area between dream life and wakefulness; the gloaming of sunset versus the night; or the ragged adolescence of pubescence and manhood. In less poetic forms, it is the following:
a) your sinuses (where the outside world meets the inside of your head)
b) your computer printer (where theoretical code meets actual paper and actual ink)
and, c) airports.
All three of these mundane liminals are painful in one way or another: your sinuses are fraught with notoriously bad engineering on the part of your Maker. Printers SUCK. And airports, where a colossal form of transportation (airplanes) meets another (buses, cars, etc) offer all kinds of chances for you to experience incredible discomfort.
Airports are also liminal in that it is cheating – it is YOU being in ANOTHER PLACE SO QUICKLY in a way not possible a hundred years ago. For this we’re all genuflecting in thanks, but these days the Pain in the Ass Quotient is so damned high that it questions your choice to travel at all.
And so, the liminal needs lubrication. In your sinuses, as well as all other body orifices where air meets the inside, it’s actual lubrication in the form of saline nasal spray, Blistex lip balm, or whatever you put on your arse.
For printers, it’s impeccable driving software and a solid USB connection. And in airports – as well as all travel – it’s money. The lubrication of a well-placed $20 bill can lop an hour off your misery stopwatch. Going first class (or business class) can turn your veal-fattening pen of a coach experience into a soul-divining retreat. All it takes is lots and lots and lots of money.
In travel, there is no “almost” – you’re either at your destination with comfort or you’re sleeping between two chairs on Concourse D. The question, as with your sinuses, as with your printer, as with anything that deals with the wildly fluctuating moods of the Liminal, is how well-lubricated you’ve become.