I had to pick my mother up from the airport yesterday. Generally I find that in terms of people-watching, I prefer bus terminals to airports, because at bus terminals you get the crazies. Airports seem to bring out the inner asshole in people, such as the lady who crosses the very wide drop-off lane outside the airport, by herself, and only when she’s on the opposite side does she turn to yell at her five-year-old kid, who has remained on the terminal side of the lane. Yeah. Make sure she’s with you when you cross a street, why don’t you.
And then there’s the small waiting area for arrivals. There used to be more of this seating and it used to be nicely spread out, but in our post-9/11 desire for massive amounts of security, the passenger screening area has taken up pretty much that entire part of the place, with only a pretty small room set aside for people to wait for their arriving loved ones. There were three people in there yesterday, so I took a seat in the back row, away from everyone else. Behind the waiting room is a little cafeteria-restaurant thing, with a seating bar between that and the waiting area. In walks a cluster of three people who decide that they’re going to stand at the seating bar and have their loud and boring conversation, and they’re going to do it right behind me. They could have stood anyplace else and not bothered anyone else, but that wasn’t an option.
So yeah, if you like annoying people, the airport’s the place for you.
But then, there was the Young Woman In Blue Jeans.
She was the only Young Woman there, but she also had on blue jeans. And a nice winter jacket, leather torso with cloth arms and faux-fur on the cuffs and collar. Her long, brown hair fell about her shoulders, and most of all…she looked nervous. No, not nervous. Anxious.
The Young Woman In Blue Jeans could not stand still. She’d check her phone for the time. Then she’d check her phone for the flight status, ignoring what the teevees on the wall had to say about flight status. She’d look around, for no apparent reason because she was clearly there waiting for someone, and she’d rock back and forth from one foot to the other. Then she started this entire cycle again, and finally, she disappeared for a few minutes.
When she reappeared, she set up camp in the exact same spot, waiting for whomever was to come through the exit corridor, and did the same things again: she checked her phone, she rocked back and forth, she spontaneously looked around. Maybe she riffed her fingers through her hair. She tried calmly leaning against the wall, only to give that up seconds later for more foot-rocking.
And when she returned from her brief disappearance, she had a piece of paper in her hand. A full-size sheet, 8 by 11. She’d written something on it, in Sharpie. One of those signs you hold up at the airport to identify yourself to someone. But it didn’t have a name on it; she’d written a lot of words there, and I found myself curious as to what they said. She finally angled toward me just enough that I was able to read her impromptu sign:
the CUTEST BOY
who lives in NEW ORLEANS, LA
to TAKE ME HOME!!!
A lover, I suppose. New lover? Old lover? Lovers meeting for the first time after getting to know each other online?
I never found out. Mom came out of the gate first.