A Night at Intercontinental

Dec 5, 2014
Houston, Texas

Oklahoma is known for its bad weather, there’s a whole song about it which is coincidentally the State Song. And such was the fate of my evening. All Tulsa and Oklahoma City area airports closed due to low, heavy fog. Friends tell me visibility on the ground was even unsafe for driving. But my flight out of Austin had already pushed back when I got word, so I was offered the opportunity to sleep in the concourse at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in north Houston.

Generally teeming with travelers from all over the world, this is one of the busiest places I find myself on a regular basis. But I was surprised: even this airport slows down late at night. Without the passengers, IAH becomes an abandoned but clean, luminous expanse of curious architecture, repetitive furniture, and hauntingly wide spaces.

FitBit indicates that I walked twelve miles between 9pm and 3am. As I ran out of energy, I happened upon a group of other stranded travelers in the B South Concourse where we played cards and talked about our adventures. Two sisters from Mexico traveling from a mission trip in Tel Aviv, a newlywed Canadian couple headed to South America, and a violin-playing Californian exchange student en route from France. We watched the sunrise together, then flew off in different directions.