Airports: The Great Equalizers
Good morning friends, blends, and strangers who love/hate flying.
I was so excited that so many of you enjoyed my recap of the Healthy Living Summit Cocktail Party. Big shout out to Katy Widrick for the twitter love, spreading my words far and wide to her many followers and fans.
Even though the cocktail party was a blast, I’ll admit, there was one aspect of the trip to Philly (or rather, from) that cast a hideous pallor over my memories.
That thing was so awful that it even warranted an angry tweet from yours truly.
See, the beau and I are starting the long distance relationship thing a little early this week, with him leaving for a business trip and me heading back to North Carolina, also for work. He called me early Monday morning when his flight landed to say good morning and inquire about my weekend. And, as we all saw in yesterday’s post, yes, I may be a bit of a loud character.
But when the fellow across from me shushed me, I couldn’t help but (quietly) ask,
“I said ‘Shh’…. I don’t want to hear your conversation.”
……………………………oh. I’m sorry. I thought this was America. Not District 12 (Bonus points for Hunger Games reference understanding) where we have to be silent coyotes for the sake of everyone around us and to make sure we don’t offend President Snow (who this guy reminds me of. Roll with me on the Hunger Games train. And if you’re not, read them now. You will thank me.)
And yes, maybe I was loud. I tend to be. But that’s the thing about airports. EVERYONE is loud. All around us, there were babies crying, folks trying to get a hold of their rides (“What?! Terminal B? Did you say BEE or SMEE?! WHERE IS TERMINAL SMEE?!”), tearful phone goodbyes, video game playing, iPod listening. It’s a loud place. And I think that sometimes, for infrequent travelers (I am the opposite of this), they forget that, for some of us, the airport is part of our day-to-day lives.
When I looked up in horror at this jerk, all I felt was a totally mind-consuming rage.
I think my thought process was something along these lines:
“Who does this ass-hat think he is? Look at him, sitting with that smug su-do-ku playing look on his face [you know the one that all good sudoku-ers get when they su]. I bet he regularly powerwalks past slower walkers in his neighborhood track, and looks back at them, and shakes his head. Yeah, he’s probably that kind of dude. I wonder if he’s ever purposefully spilled a drink on someone, or elbowed them for getting too close on public transportation. Likely.”
When he got up and left his stuff, I had crazy-person thoughts like “I want to follow him playing sounds of screaming babies on my phone. is that a ringtone that I have?” I promise I didn’t look (but the thought crossed my mind.)
Airports somehow (and frequently) bring out the worst in some people. I’ve seen folks have to be split up by TSA agents because they’ve started fights over who was supposed to board first. This is not a joke. I’ve watched people butt in front of entire hours worth of security lines, then receive death threats from the folks behind them. The pressure of flights leaving you behind, connecting flights, long lines, and expensive food just seems to put people on edge and make them total grouchballs. And one grouchball leads to another, and then you have a collective rage blackout and forget how you ended up in a pile of cinnabons and $9 beer puddles with blood on your knuckles.
Luckily, on rare occasions, they can also bring out the best. Because I’ve also watched people share their overpriced Chinese food and laugh like they’ve been BFF when they find out their flight’s delayed due to thunderstorms. Once, I even saw a Charlotte, NC local offer their guest room for someone whose flight was canceled until the next day. Having slept over at the Charlotte airport before due to flight cancellations and rescheduling, I remember staying up late, chatting with my fellow airport warriors about past stories and bonding over our mutual tragedy.
As I fumed with rage blackout potential, I tried to remember those good times. The laughter, the kindness of the occasional fellow passenger. Heck, early yesterday morning, my undies fell out of my carry on and a wonderful lady alerted me, in the shadiest manner possible, that I had panties gone rogue.
And so I didn’t do anything rash, like mash a banana into his carry on or report him for sexual harassment and potential dangerous weapon concealment to TSA. I just decided to walk away.
Whether you’re mean or nice, tall or short, old or young, rich or
me poor, you can’t change what happens at the airport. You can’t bypass the security lines, you can’t MAKE the pilot take-off faster, you can’t demand that there be less traffic on the runway. Airports are the great equalizer. Maybe that guy chose to respond negatively, and be in a bad mood, but I chose to rise above it (quite literally) in the air, and had a wonderful conversation with my seat-buddy.
I still hope that guy was forced to sit by the toilet and that it smelled. I hope it smelled REAL bad.