I drove my mom to the Philly airport on Sunday to take her flight back home. As we motored through the Departures lane, I saw a section of the airport made of tan brick with a turqoise control tower. It was the original airport from way back in the ’60s. It looks strange, surrounded by the white concrete of the current airport.

I remember that my dad once said that all the original airport needed in the ’60s was carpeting. It had red brick floors back then. They added the carpet, but they didn’t stop there. They never stopped at all. They kept adding, and adding, and adding. I’ve never seen a structure that grew like this airport–it just swelled piece by piece until it became the huge behemoth that you see now.

Even the terminals speak to the piecemeal construction of this complex. The A terminal was the last to be built, years after terminals B through E. After it was finished, it still wasn’t enough, and they had to add a terminal before A. What do you call the letter before A? Well, in Philly they call it terminal A-East and now terminal A-West. Wow. I realize that it’s one of the largest airports around, but the thing has become massively unwieldy.

Here’s another weird fact. If you work in the part of the airport that’s in Philadelphia, you have city wage tax taken from your pay–three and a half percent or so. However, if your employer is in the part of the airport that’s in Delaware County, you have no city wage tax–it’s almost like a 3.5 percent raise (if you look at the bright side).