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A Week at the Airport 

Alain de Botton (Emblem/M&S)

After a seven-day residency at London Heathrow, de Botton reveals the peninsular nature, not fully island or mainland, of airports. Entering these in-between spaces, we become projections of ourselves, a point underscored by Richard Baker’s photographs. We’re detached from our real selves, the ones at home and work. As passengers, we leave one aiport for another to experience or even enjoy whatever’s on the other end. But trips end, and we have to retrace our steps and re-enter the airport back in our own city. We have to return home and rejoin our real selves and our lives. “Whatever the benefits of prolific and convenient air travel, we may curse it for its smooth subversion of our attempts to use journeys to make lasting changes in our lives.” Smoothly erudite, and with politesse, de Botton derails the idealist’s escape. Bummer.

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