Yesterday I was flying back home, connecting through O’Hare. As we sat at our gate, crammed in the overcrowded, narrow seating area, there was a small child screeching somewhere nearby, three guys in the next row over were talking loudly, and a woman sitting two seats down was speaking into her cell phone. And above all the din was a TV set tuned to CNN, broadcasting at sufficient volume so that anybody who was interested could hear talking heads yammer about Stormy Daniels and her alleged tryst with President Trump.
Let’s just say it wasn’t exactly a peaceful, relaxing waiting area. Instead, it was close to the exact opposite — an area seemingly designed to jack up the tension and general unpleasantness that could have been made worse only if somebody was dragging their fingernails against a chalkboard or running a dentist’s drill with that high-pitched whine over a loudspeaker.
There’s not much you can do about a crying baby, or the talking habits of your fellow passengers. Those are things that you just have to endure when you travel. Notably, however, so far as I could tell nobody in our cramped waiting area was watching the CNN broadcast on the TV monitor overhead. It was just a big part of the background racket contributing to the general unpleasantness. And while you can argue about whether following the news at all these days is good for your mental health, do we really need to have the TV news on in public areas, bombarding us with more noise during every waking moment? At an airport gate waiting area, at least, there’s no way to turn the TV off to try to minimize the tumult.
Finally getting on the plane, where it was a little bit quieter, was a relief. The experience made me appreciate our Columbus airport, where there aren’t TVs blaring at every gate area and you actually can sit quietly while waiting for your flight. I don’t know if the O’Hare airport authority gets paid something by CNN for broadcasting the news in every waiting area, but I’d sure appreciate it if they junked the TVs and reduced, at least a little, the noise pollution and the din at the gate.