Thursday, July 21, 2011

things I think about in the airport...

I'd like to share a few examples of how my mind occupies itself when its plane is delayed for two hours. I scribbled down a few starts for things to eventually blog and apparently today is "eventually." Here they are.

I have a habit of, every once in a while, looking around and thinking "these are the people."

These are the people I will be trapped in this elevator with.
These are the people who will be left alive with me if everything in the world is destroyed except for this room. Everything  except for this specific bank of seats in the B gates at the LaGuardia airport.
These are the people who might (in a survival situation) look at me and think to themselves "could I eat a human being?" Or, you know, vice versa.
These are the people I will be stranded on a deserted island with (if somehow this plane from New York to Atlanta flies over a deserted island. Or an ocean for that matter).

These are the people.
please don't let me spend my last hours on a MARTA train
I will scan the faces of the people around me, trying to judge their character by the way that they talk or laugh or whether they move their stuff and offer the seat next to them. He's a good guy, I think. But will his kindness make him weak? These are the kind of things you need to know. 
(Additionally, which one of these people is most likely to stab me? The small Asian boy. Watching Power Rangers on his iTouch. Just trying to be a hero.)

So this is who I'm stuck with, I think. I already hate the way that woman cackles at her cell phone. That guy over there didn't even bring a book to an airport. He's clearly not the survival type. That muscly guy on his laptop could be useful... Maybe he's a g-man or an ex-cop. 
So as people around me stress about having to deplane and where Gretchen put her boarding pass ("is it in your bag? It's GOTTA be in your bag cuz it sure as HELL ain't in mine!") I am assembling my team. And deciding who to leave behind if we find an abandoned working vehicle in our now post-apocalyptic landscape. 
...I'm looking at you, cackling cell phone lady.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

mmmm light pollution

As my plane was flying over New York on the way back home, I looked down on the sparkling city below.  I had already been delayed 3 hours and thought I might sleep on the plane until I got distracted by the view outside my cabin window.

Then my sense of geography started to fail me.
If that's New York, and we're on the East looks like we're going further East right into the ocean! Or maybe North to Canada??  

This worry (that the pilot had no idea where he was going and I was going to be stranded in Canada for the night) began to creep into my thoughts and disrupt my reading.

"Tobacco,  introduced to London the year after Shakespeare's birth,...  
Oh no what if the flight is actually going to Canada?
...was a luxury at first but soon gained such widespread popularity... 
I got in the right gate. Right? B8. Yeah. I got in the right gate. My ticket was scanned. It made that satisfying "ping" noise that means I am supposed to be on this plane.
...that by the end of the century there were no fewer than seven thousand tobacconists in the City....  
Dad would be so upset if he drove all the way to the airport at midnight and I'm actually in Canada.
...It was employed not only for pleasure but as a treatment for a broad range of complaints... 
no. they won't be upset. They'll be worried, won't they? I'll probably end up crying if I have to call home and say I accidentally ended up in Canada.
...including venereal disease,... 
but NO. I won't cry. I'm an adult. I'm a grown-ass woman. I just went to New York all by myself!
I'll take care of everything. I can get myself a hotel or something, and email work to explain my absence and book a new flight and - yeah. I'll be fine. 
...and even bad breath." 
Shit, I have to read that whole passage again. Didn't take in a word of it.

(excerpts from Bill Bryson's Shakespeare: The World as Stage)


  1. You are so funny. When I'm in the airport I think about what peoples' stories are. Usually the most outlandish version of peoples' stories. Usually involving them being famous folk singers or secret agents or about to get proposed to. How is the book? I love Bill Bryson.

  2. "Dad would be so pissed if he drove all the way to the airport and I was in Canada!"

    Love it! Love you!

  3. That last paragraph, with the unrelated thoughts going on between the reading...that's how my head works when I read almost anything.

    This is why I don't read.