Being as how my fairly limited air travel experiences date way back in my memory banks, I enjoy dragging them out and expounding on their relative significance. This trip into memory lane is completely irrelevant, but that never stopped me from detailing even the least important adventures…which in the great scheme of things may never be read.
One of the activities of airport waiting rooms…those sometimes surreal places where any incident, no matter how small, served to perk up interest among viewers sitting there waiting hopefully for news of impending flights. This activity is casual observance of tidbits of life in the waiting room.
Once my son was arriving in Cleveland on an in-coming flight from (Boston? Seattle? Phoenix? Minneapolis?… it doesn’t matter much, probably it was a stop-over here in the heartland between big cities.)
The spectators…casually observing the sudden surge of activity which was the opening of the Gate Door from the airplane and the emergence of People from the ramp. Heads turned in unison, watching the grand drama of happy reunions and business associations unfold…reminiscent of a crowd watching a tennis match.
As Joe approached, sporting his new (to me) and neatly appointed beard…and I, as an observant Mom, remarked with a gentle touch to the chin: “What is this?” to which he said –echoing the collective thoughts of the watchers– “oh-oh, his Mom doesn’t like his beard.” I am probably the only person in the world who found that exchange note-worthy, but it is duly filed in my file designated as: “Irrelevant But Fascinating.”
One of the highlights of waiting in the airport waiting area, once the 9-11 attacks had occurred and the airports were on alert and running on nervous energy–was watching as hapless passengers were pulled out of line and searched. The most interesting examples to me were: a five-year-old with a pink Barbie back-pack; a highly irate woman who believed she should have been exempt because of her age; and a blonde American who was infuriated at the gall of some Mexican airport security officers who searched her purse and bags with exaggerated slowness. It was rather obvious to me that the security guys were highly amused at the hassle-value of the search, and–at least to me–was clearly a response to reverse situations which were even more common.
The entertainment value of these types of events lies largely in the reactions of travelers. Personally I always considered inconvenience and annoyance to be one of the anti-perks of air travel…and believe that the Hassle Value lay in the degree to which a traveler was A–indignant, B–considered to be deprived of their Rights; and C–vocally loud. Shouting is almost always counter-productive.
I admit that I tend to be amused by almost anything…especially in waiting rooms…and things that I found fascinating barely aroused the interest of other travelers who made a point of being bored. Entertainment is in the eye of the beholder. There is a choice–be bored or be entertained.
I do miss those decades of frequent travel.