Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Strange Birds

I just returned from a trip where I traveled by plane, allowing for some terrific people-watching at the airports. Surely, someone has made a bingo game out of all of the various, typical, requisite characters you’re sure to see while you’re on or waiting for your plane. I bet there’s an app for that.

I was lucky enough to see them all. Some, more than once. I was kind enough to not whip out my phone and snap their pictures so these are merely representative of my descriptions.

10. The sigher.
You know this man or woman. Usually alone, and maybe this is partly why, they sigh. Frequently and audibly.  Is it true discontent or a hushed cry for help? Do they know we can hear them?

9. The runner.  Man, woman, young or old. You’ll see one in every airport. Sometimes it’s a quickened walk. Other times, they’re rounding the final turn in the Boston Marathon. Why are you running? Why didn’t you leave sooner? Is there a plane full of people ready to back away from the airport and they’re all waiting on you? Are you always late? I don’t like late people.


8.       The sleeper.

This person is tired and they don’t care that you know it. Chin tucked to their chest sitting fully upright in a chair or sprawled in the floor or across three or four seats, you’ll usually see a person napping in the airport. I always wonder (a) how are you sleeping with all of this going on around you?  (b) How do you know someone’s not going to take your wallet, or slip something in your luggage, or draw a mustache on you? And (c) If I actually fell asleep in the airport like that, I would be terrified of oversleeping and missing my flight. Did they set an alarm?

7. The digger.

This lady has a bottomless purse and, by golly, she’s getting to China today. What is down there? What are you looking for? Why is it taking so long? I’ve just sat here and watched you make a call, put lipstick on, comb your hair, and eat a mint. What else is in there?

       6.  The TB patient.
Cover your cough. Better yet, stay home. You have a 105-degree fever, are broken out in cold chills, your entire face and everything on it is red, and you may have just moaned. Out loud.

5.  Ear rapist. We had one on our departing flight. It can be a man or woman. This one was chatting it up at the gate, hit her stride as we boarded and, I feel safe in saying this three days later, she’s still talking and may not be fully aware that she’s landed and no longer on the plane.

 4.  The inquirer. 

This traveler has questions and lots of them. 
You’ll recognize them. They are the first one to run up to the gate desk as soon as an airline employee steps out. They’ve pushed the call button on the plane before everyone has been seated. And once the plane lands, don’t get between them and the information desk.

3.  The business man. (Or woman.) I want to be fair. It’s not a cliché. There are still business folk who conduct business on the road, in the air, and in their lap. I watched a guy yesterday dig through a giant attaché, pull out a bound report, and proceed to highlight it within an inch of its life. I overheard a woman say into her phone, “Terri, we’re going to need those reports” and I found myself being glad I was neither her nor Terri.

2.  The child. First time flying and full of wonderment and questions or sick/sleepy/wet/scared/hungry. Either way, they’re loud and they’re messy and you just have to remind yourself that you were either a kid once or you’ve had one. The lucky ones claim both distinctions.

 The over- or under-dressed. M’am, come on. Six-inch stilettos. Really? And what are you laughing at, jammies?