Can Airports Improve One's Sanity?

Over the past few weeks I've been doing a lot of personal and professional reflection: we've been preparing to launch a redesigned website; it's the annual staff and self-evaluation process; at home my eight-year-old is preparing for his first communion and confession; and my oldest, after bombing his first semester, is back from college much to my chagrin.

02/01/2005


Over the past few weeks I've been doing a lot of personal and professional reflection: we've been preparing to launch a redesigned website; it's the annual staff and self-evaluation process; at home my eight-year-old is preparing for his first communion and confession; and my oldest, after bombing his first semester, is back from college much to my chagrin. Amid all this, I find myself contemplating just what, exactly, is going to fill the pages of the next couple of issues, as well as portions of this airport-themed edition. The commonality of these matters, frankly, is that it takes time and some quiet to work things out—a luxury I often can't afford. But in one of these self-imposed meditations, the words of a wise man I knew while working my way through college came back to me: "Sometimes, you just gotta punt."

In our results-oriented world, at face value, that's just not an acceptable option. However, we're not talking about surrender, but improving field position. And in the face of overwhelming deadlines and dilemmas, perhaps it's not a bad idea to punt every once in a while, even if that means just getting away from the office for an hour of uninterrupted thought. Perhaps we need to look more carefully for opportunities. And I hate to say this, but maybe that two-hour airport check-in is not such a big waste of time. No one likes to wait, and there's no arguing the tedium of business air travel, but these hours certainly provide sanctuary against the bombardment of the demands of daily life. Indeed, many readers have confessed to me they're most likely to read CSE on the airplane or at the gate. Traveling often myself, I also try to use this time wisely. The good news is that these places are getting nicer, and as contributing writer Chuck Ross reports in our cover story, the processes for security and baggage retrieval are getting better—thanks to engineers!

Of course, having a little faith helps. For example, in reviewing the content for this issue I noticed we were light in certain areas, lighting being one of them. Lo and behold, a letter recently fell onto my desk, like manna from heaven, detailing why we should curtail the employment of airport runway lighting in the wee hours of the morning (see Letters and Specifier's Notebook for more).

One more point of business: In my "to-do" list, I noted we're about to unveil a re-engineered csemag.com . Like today's reconstructed airports, I hope our new infrastructure better facilitates your search for information on the site. It will also give us the opportunity to present a number of new offerings such as "Big Talk," a feature that will allow us to make our authors and other experts available live online to answer your questions. I ask, however, that you be patient as I figure a way to bring these possibilities to fruition. We're really at the beginning of a long journey, but we'd definitely love it if you all came along for the ride.





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