truth in advertising

I like to take laps at the airport. Sitting while people-watching is fun, but I enjoy taking my show on the road. And since my travel equation always holds true, where (X) the amount of time I give myself inversely affects (Y) any sort of line or delay, my ample two hour allowance for holiday traffic equaled me getting through security in approximately thirty seconds and therefore being quite familiar with Concourse C at PDX.

I was in the best sort of mood for people-watching, but both my shiny new notebook and my shiny new camera were buried deep under clothes and presents, an oversight made while jamming four days of travel and gifts into one backpack without regard for priority. As I didn't feel like unpacking the entirety of my Christmas and my unmentionables for all to see, I was left to observe and report without the aid of pen or photo.

What really struck me, more than the disturbing abundance of Santa hats and the general hodgepodge of humanity waiting for flights, were the giant yellow posters positioned front and center at every Southwest gate. Without graphics or context, each simply proclaimed:

"It's hard to move on if you're standing still."

That's all. No explanation, no gimmick, nothing. I get that they're an airline, travel, moving, suggested action etc., but the syntax as a whole has had me thinking far more than I'm sure was intended. Did they actually intend to play off of typical year-end reflections involving forward motion, or the lack thereof? And if so, what was the rationale behind that decision? Or am I just forcing my own interpretation and insecurities on a vaguely-written ad campaign? Am I the only one to do so?

I don't know. But I do know I stood for a socially uncomfortably period of time, contemplating the concept of movement versus progress as the annual hourglass drains while the queue of folks awaiting their flight back to Houston squinted at their tickets, determined to ignore the staring kid with the yellow backpack while waiting for their rows to be called.


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