Sunday, June 10, 2018

Waiting at the Airport

People watching at the airport is an interesting thing. I get there early because I'm a nervous nelly and want everything to go smoothly so, of course, I have nothing to do for two hours but wait.

Parking myself in one of the starched seats is critical. I want to sit by myself. If there's several seats alone I'm drawn there, but that's risky. I try to find a couple empty seats between a few people where I can leave an empty seat between us. Bonus if I can find a person who already has their earphones and is engrossed in their tablet or phone. The universal I'm-not-here-to-chat sign. My people. We can ignore each other in peace even as we side-eye to see what has the other so engrossed on their tablet.

Then it's all about propping my feet up on my carry-on and watching people.

There's the mom on the layover with two kids. Her hair's in a messy bun, she has no make-up, and her eyes wander the area as she stands guard over her chicks who are sitting, playing video games and eating the bags of chips she has just gotten for them.

There's the entire family, mom, dad, a couple of kids and baby. They are a controlled unit unto themselves, the parents tag-teaming duties.

There's the business folks, computers out. There's the guys and gals, loose shorts, sandels, sloppy buns, tats, frayed backpacks, who look ready to step off into the wilderness. There's the young women dressed for success or the runway. Maybe on their way to a wedding?

There's the sweet old religious lady who looks like the typical grandma. She's even wearing a gingham dress. She's zeroed in on a younger woman whose expression I'm trying to gauge as grandma is sharing her religion. Does she want to hear this or is she held hostage by politeness? And being the awful person I am, I don't save the young woman. Instead I worry that I'm going to be stuck next to grandma on the plane. Will earplugs be enough to fend off a two hour sermon from someone who genuinely feels it's her duty to save all she can?

I'd rather sit by the dog-mama. Because yes, dog-mama has just sat down beside me with her little dog in a baby wrap against her chest. The dog is well behaved, hasn't made a peep. On second thought, no, I'm hoping I'm not next to them either. I say that, hoping I haven't just offended all dog lovers here. Not my intent and no animals were harmed in the writing of this post. But the truth is, I've had a deep seated fear of dogs since I was a young kid. It's never gone away. Sorry. I'm sure I could handle sitting beside a well-behaved dog for two hours, but the relief was real when I didn't have to.

Yep, as boring as the airport is, it's also fairly entertaining. I make two trips to the bathroom because I want that bladder as close to empty as I can get even though I could guzzled down a bottled lemonade. Who wants to make the I-didn't-go-while-I-had-the-chance walk to the back of the plane with everybody glancing up to see who is moving past them? I hate people looking at me, but it's more ick when they know where I'm going--literally going. Taking care of my business is nobody else's business, especially a plane full of people I don't know. No thank you.

I'll pull my big girl panties up, or down as the case may be, if I have to, but I'd rather not, so bathroom visits while waiting is key for me.

Then the boarding begins. We are a patient society, yet I can still feel the eagerness of getting on the plane even though that means we'll just be sitting in the same seat longer. Truth is, we all want to make sure our carry-ons get to be close to us. Turns out mine isn't close to me at all, but I stuck a big patriotic scarf on it that I can see once the overhead bins are opened. I feel better about that, even though if I saw it being grabbed, I'm not exactly going to hurdle over twenty seats to bypass everyone in the aisle waiting to get out.

As it turns out, I'm in the last seat, last aisle in the back. How did that happen? I checked-in a day early online. It's a window seat except there aren't windows in this aisle. Upside, I'm sitting by the two fashionistas who don't talk to me at all. Score! And the plane has movie choices. I have my earplugs and get to spend the entire flight watching Pitch Perfect 3 and the first half of Black Panther. Just perfect.

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