airport

ROW 19, Seats FED

I’m not sure what it was that woke me. Could have been the constant vibrations coming from the wing sticking out the window, or maybe the dammed screeching coming from the one baby that seems to sit next to me on every flight I’ve ever taken. Either way, I see it as some stroke of luck. Before the flight I was trapped in a Midwest airport, drinking with the scum of the skies. I had had a little too much to drink and passed out as soon as I sat down, just before the captain told the passengers that three was nothing to worry about, he was a professional and had full control of the flying tons of metal that was about to travel across the sea. So when I woke up, it was just in time for the stewardess to serve me another round. Just what I needed. Why they subject women to this type of degrading service, I’ll never know.
This trip over the sea seemed different compared to others. Different, in the sense that all the excitement of travelling was lost. I remembered myself sitting in the airport earlier in the day, staring curiously, wishing they were all dead. I’ve learned to hate airports. People are strange, when they are strangers. And people in airports are the very testament to that. Thanks Jim. Maybe it’s something to do with nerves, unloading there deep dark secrets and fears to complete strangers as they lull in front of endless terminal space trying to pass the time. Before maybe I would have felt compelled to tell the world my story. But today, this time around, I felt very comfortable being a recluse. Just another face, with a boarding pass to somewhere.
The closes I got to some real interaction in the rat maze that is the DIA airport was of course in the smoking lounge. I use the word lounge very loosely because in reality it was a room no bigger than something you could find on the back side of the Las Vegas strip. There were maybe 3 and a half tables at the opening of the room. The rest was lined with a long counter that rapped around the entire place. It was in the back of the airport and three of the walls were just glass, so onlookers to either see their fate to come, or reminisce about the flight they just had. The place was packed with lost souls, aimless churning their lives away one puff at a time. I’m clearly the youngest person on the space, yet I feel at home. I sit a seat away from some old had and kindly of the seat to a more qualified gentlemen who comes in behind me. He thinks I’m signaling him in some sort of masculine code and takes off running toward the witch. ( I move to a less active corner of the place shortly after). I inhale three cigarettes before the waiter notices I’m apart of society and demands my donation to the sleazy smoking establishment. Of course we can’t kill ourselves for free; there is always an entrance fee. But since there is nowhere else to smoke, I give in quickly and buy something that resembles an IPA. Nine fucking dollars, can you believe? I scrap with a few locals over an outlet plug-in to charge my phone and settle in. Just then a particular looking Mexican man and a black guy with an unusual amount of gold accessories walk in. The Mexican, in true jumping bean fashion orders all the tequila in the airport and a couple of beers for him and his friend. The black guy calmly grabs his drink, and the two sit next to two rednecks of all people. I drink my beer, beaming with excitement for what’s about to happen next. They pounded the first round together but the jumping bean bored of his black friend and turned to the red necks. I’m not sure how, but the three strike up a conversation about vehicles and guns. Apparently they all have extensive knowledge about motor bikes. My excitement drops a notch. Back home the rednecks, curse, spit and cruise on bikes in the back woods of some southern state that allows them to fire guns and have multiple wives. The bean curses and cruises down the long beaches with tinted shades and practice his hidden talent of whistling to ladies in short skirts as he rides by. All I can think is how being in a trapped in a confined space while drinking, stimulates universal topics such as motor bikes. American comradely is still alive in this airport. With no hope of race wars, I left the smoke stop for about an hour to refuel and drink with a change of scenery. When I returned the black man, the Mexican and the rednecks hadn’t appeared too moved and were deep into conversation. The rednecks were saying that they had been held up in this smoke jungle for something like seven hours straight, drinking and choking down marble reds. The Mexican, although he had only been there a short while was trying to catch up to them, drinks wise, as quickly as he could. He started order double shots of tequila and piss water beer to chase it all down. The black guy, who I suspected was once a cool guy from Texas, was also drunk but still comprehendible. Then all hell broke loose. The Mexican after finishing his latest round of shots and fabricated stories of drag races in the sierra desert became in raged. With what, I’m still not sure. But he grabbed the nearest waitress, demanding another round and planted a sloppy kiss right on her mouth when he was finished. The waitress took it surprisingly well, as if nothing happened. She was an old broad, probably mid-50s, and had a look on her face that said she had dealt with men like this before. She politely nodded, turned and went to the back. Maybe this tactic had worked else where I thought. Maybe the Mexican was actually some sort of con man, who flew from airport to airport picking waitress in bars all around the country by aggressively attacking them out of nowhere. The rednecks just hooted and hollered, with the black man rolled his eyes. The Mexican, fell out of his seat and said he was going to locate the bathroom before returning for the waitress. I immediately ordered another drink and moved a bit closer to the action. The black man started to explain to the rednecks that the Mexican was actually not his friend and just some random guy he knew from work. Apparently they were in the oil business and had just flown in from Wyoming. They had just landed and flew back home from Wyoming and the boss had turned them loose for a few days to get straight. A well-deserved break from the cold steel and even harsher conditions. Then he started to explain how his Mexican counterpart was notorious for drinking and making an ass out of himself. On the job, in an airport, it didn’t matter. And he made it very clear to the rednecks and too the staff that he wanted no part in the next round. The rednecks hooted and hollered with even more enjoyment than before and we all waited. Everyone in that smoking lounge seemed to be waiting for what would happen next. When the Mexican returned, seemingly more drunk, he was shocked to find that his order had not been brought out yet. He turned in the direction the waitress ran off to and called for her. A cute looking man, who seemed to be the comic relief of the staff team. And by cute, I mean the grown man type who thinks they can get away with one-liners about traveling and plane fights because he works in an airport bar. He walks to the Mexican, still in his cute facade and serves him a bottle of water. The crowd goes silent, the black man looks to the floor and the rednecks turn away and stare out the window. In fact the whole room shifted in some way or another, to avoid the gaze of the Mexican man. I swiftly lit another smoke and pretended to text away. The Mexican could sense the tone of the room change as fast as it happened. He was nervous, but still not drunk enough to be embarrassed in front of a room full of strangers. So he laughed at the waiter, and told him to bring the broad back out with the drinks. The waiter said, he was advised not to give out anymore drink to him because of some made up policy that he and the waitress surely devised in the back room in the last 6 minutes. The Mexican laughed again, and threatened he wouldn’t pay for his drinks until the man brought him more drinks. The waiter, lost his boyish charm and simply said he could have water or nothing. The Mexican, who must have caused too many scenes in his day or simple felt he was defeated with nothing to protest against the dozen witnesses in the room who were all laughing at him, said OK. He whipped out his wallet threw some 20s on the ground and stormed out, with the black man close behind.
Now, here I am, on my plane to London with two complementary bottles of wine, and another tucked away, as the lights go out for the mandatory nap time. I wouldn’t be surprised if the pilots took a break to mull around in first class looking for anyone who looked impressed. The stewardess literally asked me to,” Pop the blinds down,” because she British and stupid. Everyone glares at me because I’m the only jackass with the light on.

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