Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Standoff

Didn’t feel like driving so I had them pick me up. You know who they are; those people who drive the special blue van that smells like a taxi cab rear ended a cheap hotel. 5:15am came earlier than expected, then again who expects 5:15am other than insomniacs and the bakery staff. The share rides are like playing Russian Roulette in Canada. I have no idea where the Canadian reference comes in but that’s not important right now. This morning I was the last to be picked up, we made to LAX in record time. The ride there was quiet and dark. The sun wasn’t awake yet and all you could see was the city lights and the dim yellow haze which blanketed the horizon. Our driver was speeding, I am not sure why, maybe he was trying to kill the boredom. It was a stark contrast between the quiet squeaks and muffled road noise inside to the blistering speeds of insanity outside. The guy next to me had his head hung low in near his palms. His face was slightly illumined from the pale blue light of his phone. He was stooped, still and held no expression. The only movements he had were the slight jostles from our economy carriage on this uneven highway; it was like sharing a ride with a modernized zombie.

I was waiting for the plane at Gate 32, observing people as they make preparations of flight. There was this toddler that stood out; even being a little guy he had a certain presence. We made eye contact and he gave me that “look”. Oh great, I’ve been marked. Luckily he was quickly distracted by a stuffed animal and laser sounds. Made the usual rounds and found a comfy chair to wait out the remaining time before boarding. I placed my boarding pass on top of my laptop bag, then without warning, that stealthy little toddler showed up at my feet and grabbed my boarding pass. I looked down and he slowly lifted his head and started giggling. For a brief second he became silent, grinned and started to lean to his left as if he was going to make a run for it. I didn’t want to make any sudden movements –afraid he would take off. We locked eyes and remained still; I was in a standoff with a toddler. To my horror he slowly opened his mouth and started to move my boarding pass toward that irretrievable abyss. I placed my hand out as a last ditch effort to resolve our differences, then his parents jumped into the scene retrieved my boarding pass and pacified him with bright colors and a banana. I got up and walked over to the gate and in the faint distance I could hear that little guys giggle. It was an evil, evil, giggle. It was time to head to Atlanta for a layover then to my final destination, Philadelphia.

 I have talked to many people over the years while on a plane but I will not soon forget passenger 12D. To be continued. (imagine music from Joe Harnell being played)

Until Next Time.