Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Airport Amnesia

I did it again.  I arrive at the airport.  Print out my bag tag and bring my suitcase over to the bag drop area.  The lady behind the counter politely asks to see my ID and questions me "And what is your final destination today, Mrs. O'Grady?"  I freeze.  Where the hell am I going?!  What month is it?   If I could figure out the time of year, then I could remember who is getting married and could then remember where they lived.  Or I could determine if it is a holiday and then I could guess NJ.  But Trevor would definitely be with with me if it was a wedding or NJ.  Solo travel is usually reserved for work.   However I don't travel for work anymore... hmmmm

Right when I feel down right terrified that my brain is lost, the neurotransmitter reaches the synapse and the memory is released...  It is January.  The holidays are over.  Trevor has work to do.  I am not going to a wedding..."Uhhhhh, I am going to Wahsington DC"   to visit my niece for her baptism.  The lady stares at me as I obviously look and sound as crazy as I feel.

This same situation happened to me about a month before, again while I was flying alone.  I walked onto the airplane and took my middle seat in between a middle-aged woman at the window, and an older, balder construction-worker-looking man in the aisle seat.  As I sat down the man introduces himself by saying:

"Oh good, I was worried I was gonna have to sit next to a fatty!!"

I instantly know more than I want to about this jerk:  1. he's a talker, and 2. what he has to say is downright awful. ...  The passengers have not even finished boarding yet.  I pull out my book and put on my head phones.

A few rows ahead of us a guy is attempting to fit his suitcase into the overhead compartment.  It requires a bit of shifting around of the luggage that is already in there. It was not an especially large suitcase and it is not really holding up the line for any considerable length of time   It is not really anybody's place except the flight attendant or the guy behind him in line to say anything.  But Mr. Jerk next to me starts yelling "It's not gonna fit!!!  It's gotta be under 22 inches!!  You're gonna have to check that, buddy!! Come ON!!!!"  The passenger fits it, gives my friend a nasty look, and takes his seat.  Mr. Know-It-All-Rule-Enforcer starts going off to me about what an awful guy that passenger was... "some people...that guy's an asshole"

Moments later a young college girl in the aisle across from Mr. Know-It-All-Rule-Enforcer throws her coat and purse on her seat and starts putting the handle down on her rollarboard suitcase in preparation for heaving it overhead.  Mr. Know-It-All politely asks her if she needs help with that.  To which she genuinely replies "Aww, no, but thank you."  The girl was tall enough to reach the overhead herself. She was not handicapped.  She had help if she needed it, but she obviously didn't need it and respectably didn't want it.  But Mr. Forced-Chivalry can't help but pop out of his seat and release his seatbelt like his butt is on fire and in one swift move he has snatched the suitcase out of her hands while it was over her head and nearly knocks her to the ground in the process.   As he buckles back in after the assault, he leans over and says something to me like "always happy to help."

Deep in my book, I nod, avoid contact, and pray he shuts up.  Now that everyone is boarded, he has run out people to harass, and digs into me.

Mr. Forced Chivalry: You fly a lot?

Me: Sometimes.

Mr. Forced Chivalry: You from Boston?

Me: At the moment....

Mr. Forced Chivalry:  Where you flying to today?

Uhhhhhhhhhhhh ..... .............Go through the list:  Thanksgiving just happened, Christmas is coming up but not yet here.  It is not NJ.   Trevor is not here.  So it is not likely a wedding and I am not flying for work...  This flight is going to Chicago... But my finally destination is????.......

DENVER!  I am going to Denver!

Again, after an appropriately awkward amount of time passed with me staring up at the ceiling seemingly without a thought, I then excitingly scream where I am going as if I just proudly figured out the $1 million dollar double jeopardy question.

He seems to be taken aback by my strange response, which, if he were a normal person, I would be totally embarrassed, but I instantly realize the advantage of him thinking I am a crazy, weirdo.  Maybe he will leave me alone.  He gives up on questions about me, and turns to small talk....

"Did you see the pilot of this flight is a woman?  Can you believe that!?"

If I was not stuck to this guy for a considerable length of time, I might have tried a different approach.  I do still regret not ripping him a new one.  Instead I close my book. Close my eyes.  Turn the music up.  And pretend Mr. Sexist does not exist.

Mental Health Disclaimer:
Before you get too concerned about the status of my mental capabilities, let me assure you that this has only happened to me twice in my life and both times happened when I am flying alone at like 6am, which is technically 3am for normal people since I am usually on California time.  3am is dream time.  My brain is asleep and not used to questioning at this hour.


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