Guam never really existed for me–except as a joke. “Yeah, I found parking…in Guam.” “That cabbie ripped me off; he drove here by way of Guam.” “We didn’t get into our neighborhood public school— but we did get into one in Guam.” Always a catch all word for anything remote, distant, far off, exotic, but never real. Well, it is real. It does exist. I am here.
Sitting in the United Airways Premier Club, cold Asahi beer in hand , breathing conditioned air, and nondescript CNN banter coming from the TV behind the bar, nothing seems too distant, far off, or remote, let alone exotic. The footprint of America is large.
Every so often the rambling, directionless punditry spewing from the TV is interrupted by fight announcements updates. White people arguing about Obama’s problems attracting black voters are drowned out by boarding calls for Manila, Saipan, Palau or Pohnpei. Unlike Scranton, where the P.A. beckons travelers to Utica, Allentown, or Richmond, here I’m called to destinations that are not real except in my jingoist jokes or in history books about the the War in the the Pacific. These announcements are a hint, a whisper perhaps, that the exotic and far off are not really as far off as they seem from the uneasy familiarity of the United lounge in the Guam airport.