The accordion player cranks out a constant, upbeat polka. He sits on a tattered suitcase and stares straight ahead, only occasionally glancing at the harried passengers walking briskly by while pulling their oversized steamer trunks on wheels masquerading as carry-on luggage. He shyly makes eye contact with the rare person who stops and listens appreciatively, and smiles.
Bleary-eyed, it is easy to imagine that I am sitting in a busy Central European train terminal. But then the aroma of warm tortilla and pork from the Chipotle hits my nose, the holiday muzak from the overhead speakers drowns out the resolute accordion player, and I realize I am just sitting in the waiting area of Gate 63 in the B terminal of Dulles International Airport at 5:30 AM.
It is way too early in the morning for this assault on my senses.