16 August 2011

Too Far Airfield

Last weekend I completed what has been one of my most anticipated odd social experiments. I walked to the airport (and it wasn't that bad). Since moving to Milwaukee's alleged Garden District, I have frequently wondered what the experience would be like, walking to or from MKE, and last Friday I had the opportunity to test it. My hypothesis was that it would be difficult, dangerous or nearly impossible to accomplish what I had set out to do. Every time I had driven to or from the airport I had tried to make a mental note of various courses I would have to traverse,* without finding much of a hopeful way forward (or backward). To my chagrin, however, I found that the process of walking, at least to this one American airport, was really not much of a challenge.

On first approach, while leaving my immediate neighborhood and approaching the mega-block that is Mitchell International Airport, I was pleased to see my sidewalk end and some un-inviting looking fences and trenches seemingly blocking my path. Of course, I could have crossed over Howell Ave. and had an unimpeded walk, but this is clearly not the story I'm trying to tell here, so I trekked.

Presently, I came upon a side-road, upon which I assumed my pedestrations would be noted and carefully watched by Homeland Security and the TSA. There was some traffic on the road, though not a lot. I encountered exactly one fellow walker, who was wearing what looked like an airport badge, marking him as not the bourgeois-traveller class, but of the low-wage, service economy class we staff our airports (baristas, bartenders and security personnel alike) with.  This, too, fit my narrative, so I duly scoffed again at my circumstances.

As I continued on my walk, however, I encountered a well-maintained and marked pedestrian walk (not pictured), which led me past the International Terminal.  I was terribly disappointed to find that it is, in fact, quite easy to walk to the Milwaukee Airport.

Well done, you, Milwaukee.  My outrage is quelled, once more, for one more day.

* Of course, the state of heightened emotion we generally enter when arriving or departing an
airport (or while actually at an airport) tends to distract from even the best-intentioned observer's stance.