Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Airport Late At Night With Delays and Holiday Travel


Last night, waiting to leave for T.F. Green Airport, we were trying to kill time, which always passes very slowly except when want wants to savor something. Finally, the flight information was so obtuse that we decided to leave for the airport anyway, because the flight might actually be in the air.
Slick neighborhood streets, and then a clear shot down I-95. At the airport things didn't look good. Sirens galore pulling up to the terminal, and hazmat vehicles and fireman going into the terminal, while inside we heard emergency beeps. The nightmare begins.
Plane was late. Really late, and then it got later. Sirens finally stop. By now, you understand the time was heading toward, well, midnight. We're cool. We brought something to read, because every business is closed. No newspapers, no books, no coffee, no snacks.
The crowd has taken over Starbucks seating area because there is no place to sit. The terminal is crowded, like on a Sunday at 6:00 p.m. There's luggage all over--big mother's of suitcases that hold two weeks worth of dreck, suitcases from hell, thousands of them. A sea of suitcases.
The board reveals that all the flights coming in are at least two hours late. From the south, the north, and the west. From wherever. This is still the fallout from the weekend snow and snow today here and there, althought mostly there, because Boston has been sunny all day, Providence, too, and the flight was originally on time, nay even early.
So much for that dead optimism.
Of course, the people watching is good. The temperature outside is 15 chilly degrees, and a wind that came up in the afternoon makes it feel like -15. So it is always instructive to see guys in those weird girly-looking long shorts that look like skirts, traipsing along, incredibly dorky. Dorky to the max. If they knew how stupid they looked, they would hide in a closet forever.
One of the weirdest sites is a well-dressed attractive woman, but Mon Dieu, she is wearing flip flops! Kids, the New England snow is national news. 15 Chilly Degrees? Got that?
Has this clueless flier been under a rock? Reading People? Shopping till she dropped? Dropped her brain most likely. Ooops! Sorry, I dropped my brain.
Her travelling companion performs an act that I confess would not have been mine. The companion, equally well dressed with cool sheepskin shoes, opens a big unweildy suitcase, extracts a new pair of white cotton socks and gives them to her fellow traveller. Then she hands over the warm comfy shoes and takes boots from her suitcase. She has given her friend clean warm socks and fleecy shoes. Getting this metal zippered suitcase open and closed in the crowded confines of the Starbucks area is not an easy feat.
This woman is a hero, the one a.m. hero of T.F. Green. Where is her medal?
I spend the rest of my time reading Ellery Queen, people watching, hitting the vending machines, and checking the flight board. Sometimes I ogle guys, the gray-haired ones, but sometimes the young, but never the ones in girly skirts. I have standards.
Finally, finally, our voyager arrives, just at the alarms go off again. Someone opened an "illegal door." Probably some poor fool sneaking out for a smoke. To the sound of the sirens, we get out of there at 1:30, home by a little after 2:00, and asleep around 3:00.
Question: did I make my 8:00 a.m. workout?
Ha ha ha. What do you think?
I am still feeling sorry for those waiting for the flights that still hadn't arrived. And the travellers in sandals and shorts and flipflops. Hey, their vote counts the same as yours.
Think about that.
Grapeshot

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