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Posts Tagged airport

I best recognize

grease pencilI went to Whole Foods yesterday after work, and I was nearly done shopping when I turned down an aisle and saw a woman walking toward me.  I recognized her almost immediately, and so I smiled, nodded, and uttered a little “Hey” to her as we neared each other.  She smiled back, but her eyes said, “I have no idea who you are.”  After we’d passed each other, I realized why she might not remember me: apparently not everyone recognizes people who sat near them in an airport terminal.  It was only two weeks prior, but we never said a word to each other at the airport nor did we even make eye contact (that I can remember).  She and her husband/boyfriend/friend/brother/other were sitting in my row of seats before lining up to board the plane, and at one point she got up and went to the restroom.  There’s no reason for me to recognize her now, but even less of a reason for me to say, “Hey.”

Because of my strange memory, this wasn’t the first – or worst – time that this has happened.  Back in junior high school, my brain’s ability to recall faces provided me with many awkward encounters.  I’ll explain.  I worked on the yearbook staff my 8thgrade year.  While I’m sure yearbook staffs now across the country use sophisticated computer programs for layouts, cropping, etc., we had nothing of the kind.  In fact, to crop a photo, we needed to use real sliding rulers and a grease pencil to specify what we wanted to remain of a picture.  Additionally, we had to physically attach pictures to the graph paper with the hand-drawn layouts and send them in to the printer.  I was in a small group of students responsible for the class photos of the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.  I spent many days matching pictures to names and affixing them to the sheets.  Well, my brain thought it was a good idea to retain some of that information (without consulting me). 

Here’s how that manifested itself:

  1. I’d be walking down the hall and see a young lady. 
  2. Her name would pop into my head. 
  3. I’d subconsciously think, “Since I know her name, we must be friends.” 
  4. I’d say hi or wave or do something similarly friendly.  
  5. She’d look at me like I was an idiot.   

And rightfully so, might I add.  It’s not like the woman at the airport who had a chance to forget seeing me in the first place; these students had never seen me or known I existed.  Yet there I was trying to say hi to them because I thought I knew them.  It was very confusing, and even when I figured out what was going on, it was virtually impossible to stop.

In any case, I returned home from Whole Foods with the right kind of ice cream that my lovely and pregnant wife said “the babies wanted.”  So I still consider the trip a success.

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My kind of place

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cloon dogI love Burbank airport.  (You’re right: why don’t I marry it?)  In truth, most of my affection comes from the airport’s stark contrast to LAX, but it’s more than that.  Its ease and my familiarity with its layout and standard operation procedures make a world of difference to someone like me.  I can get there and work through everything quickly enough that I can sit at my gate for 45 minutes (or more) before boarding.  Like sitting in an empty movie theater well before the film starts, I find that extremely comforting.  (I briefly thought about calling my need to get to an airport early my “terminal illness,” but ultimately deemed the pun not quite strong enough to carry that phrase.  Good call, no?)

I tried my normal route to Burbank this past Saturday, but construction signs forced me into another direction.  If I had already felt short on time, this might’ve been a very unwelcome sight, but I was fine with it.  I pulled into my lot of choice and emailed myself that I was near shuttle stop 6.  While still in my car, a shuttle bus roared by.  Again I was fine, knowing that they come fairly often and that I had plenty of time.  (I like the phrase “plenty of time.”  I find it very enjoyable; in fact, just saying it might lower my blood pressure.) 

So after having a few more sips of coffee from my travel mug, I got out with my bag and walked to the shuttle station.  A minute later, a husband and wife joined me there.  We exchanged brief salutations and then went back to being strangers.  Maybe two or three minutes later, we saw a shuttle coming our way and instinctively grabbed our respective bags and took half-steps forward.  It didn’t sound like it was slowing down as it neared us, and my ears didn’t deceive me; it kept going at its normal speed right past us.  “Hey!” the man next to me yelled before flailing his arms a bit.  The shuttle came to a halt a couple of hundred feet away and began backing up.  “Jerk,” the man said, and then he looked at me for support, but I left him metaphorically hanging.  I thought “jerk” was too strong for something that looked to be just a mental lapse or missed sighting, but maybe that’s just me.

We got on, and the driver apologized.  (See? My non-jerk call might be right after all.)  At the next stop, a feeble old man got on with a long carrying case. He sat next to a woman who had been already established herself as the talkative one on our little ride.  She turned to the old guy and said with a little laugh, “I’m guessing you don’t have a snowboard in there (cause you’re old as shit)!  Hahahaha.”  “Pardon?” he said.  She repeated her statement, complete with the exact same tone and number of laughs. “Skis,” the old man replied while gesturing toward his bag.  “Oh,” she said, before shutting up for the rest of the ride.  I spent a minute or so wondering how best to describe that “Oh,” and I settled on a combination of crestfallen, defeated, and embarrassed.  Crestfeatassed? Defrestfassed? Embarfeatfallen? Nevermind.

Thanks to the ease of Southwest (if you’re not fat, that is), I already had my boarding pass in hand when I entered the terminal.  Security only took a couple of minutes, thanks to the minimal line, the “express lane” for seasoned travelers, and my Clooney-esque ability to do everything asked of me a step ahead of time.  (I put my phone, watch, wallet, etc. in my bag’s front compartment while walking to the security area so that I only had to slip off my shoes, take off my jacket, and lay the bag flat before walking through the metal detector.  I imagine people glanced over and thought, “Wow, he really knows what he’s doing.  I hope to be that awesome of a traveler one day.  And boy does he look like a young George Clooney!”)

From that point, it was continued smooth sailing.  The only hitch in the entire process from pulling into the parking lot to lifting off the ground was that I didn’t find the right kind of puzzle book at the magazine/book stand in the terminal.  That’s ok; my iPod more than occupied me during my soothing extended-waiting period.   All told, my Burbank Airport (or technically Bob Hope Airport) experience was predictably easy and worry-free.  And if you think it’s weird that I’m writing a modified love note to an airport, then you clearly haven’t been to LAX in a while.

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