“You Are Beautiful”— A Mort Laitner Short Story

You are Beautiful

 By Mort Laitner

As I pulled my luggage through Fort Lauderdale’s international airport’s vestibule, the automated glass exit doors swung open, chimes rang out and a female voice called out to me.

“You are beautiful.”

I stopped to listen for more. Not hearing another word, a smile broke across my face as I realized two things:

That the female voice was as automated as the glass doors;

And that I had not heard those words, “You are beautiful” from a female in a long time.

The vestibule’s automated doors shut behind me. I entered the sauna known as South Florida. I looked back at the exit and mouthed my appreciation to that anonymous female and the creative artist. “Thanks for the compliment. I needed those words. You are also beautiful.”

I walked to my car thinking about the beauty of the airport filled with collages, sculptures, photographs, quilts, paintings and sound art. I had just tasted an audio work-of-art that made my travel experience more pleasant. It changed my mood in an airport and that is a healthy experience.

I laughed thinking about the first piece of “sound art” I encountered as a child—the self-inflating Whoopee Cushion. This Talking Vestibule and that Whoopee Cushion were clear voices of the world’s best medicine—laughter.

On the drive home, my brain kicked into high gear wondering how prevalent sound art was in the field of health.

After dinner, my computer began buzzing with information. I learned that Jim Green[1] was the sound artist at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport. His works include laughing escalators, talking fences and talking drinking fountains. His goal is to create socially interactive experiences between his art and the public that surprises and humors.

The rest of my search was almost fruitless. I found an agent pushing sound art for medical centers. I found no hospital, health center or health department using sound art to keep their patients happy and healthy.

I wondered when, if ever, I would be able to compliment a health administrator, who had installed some sound art in their facility elevator, escalator or vestibule with Green’s loving words, “You are beautiful.”



[1] JimGreen.org


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