Checking in With the Home Office, 2011 (iPhone photo)
Three days. Six flights. You’d think in that much travel I’d have a few good “overheards” to share. But this week seems to have been pretty dry for such insights into the human condition.
Still, there were moments:
• On my first flight of the week I sat next to a rather androgynous young man who produces drag queen reviews. I thought he had dreadlocks under his Rasta hat. But it turns out he has long dark hair like Cher.
• I seemed to be seated around a lot of people who were coming from or going to family reunions.
• While sitting on the floor of a departure gate in Charlotte, I noticed a young coed who has "Proceed with Caution" tattooed on the side of her left foot.
• A lady in Chicago came into the departure lounge complaining about the indignity of being asked to walk through the full-body scanner. I thought she was just a little too upset over nothing. This feeling was confirmed when she sat in the row behind me on the plane and complained about how everyone and everything in her life is letting her down. (I wanted to turn around and tell her to get a life.)
• The St. Louis airport looks like a giant hand reached down from the sky and shook all of the glass out of the windows. There’s enough plywood over windows and skylights to make you think you’re in a bombed out city. Turns out the airport took a direct hit from a tornado not long ago.
• Every plane I was on was full and every plane was full of the kinds of summer family travelers who greet every aspect of air travel as a new and exciting experience (and slow down lines while they call their friends back home to tell them about these new and exciting experiences). "Can you believe it, Hazel?” one lady shouted into her phone. “They have Cinnabons right here at the airport where you could buy one if you were waiting for a plane. What’ll they think of next?”
• One of my seatmates, a young man in a serious suit, conducted a painful passive aggressive phone conversation with his wife, at one moment telling her how worthless she is and the next telling her how much he loves her. (I wanted to smack him, too.)
• Delta clearly isn’t the great airline it used to be.
• On the flight from St. Louis to Cincinnati, a young boy who cried when his mother put him on the plane to go spend the summer at his father’s thought he’d died and gone to the coolest heaven when a teenager with a Mohawk haircut sat down beside him.
• A lady on the final flight to Norfolk could not understand why the flight attendant on the little regional jet would not instruct the pilot to call ahead to her sister in Portsmouth to meet her at the airport with a shoe “since I done blown out this one.”