Monday, December 31, 2007
Sitting in Houston's Airport-- Bush Intercontinental-- I face a sun setting over the fin of a grounded Continental jet. There's a football game on TV and Bruce has moved closer for a better view.
I'd rather watch people. An odd lot us humans, but interesting, and nice-- for the most part-- all with a tale, each the lead actor in a drama written only for him-- or so he thinks.
Nobody here looks ominous in anyway. All the random "beepers" were pulled aside and screened further. All water bottles have been confiscated from those who didn't know water was a liquid.
We're safe, those of us waiting for flight 686. It's the weather that may pull a cruel twist with the storm that is due to arrive in Boston while we're only half way there. Or an invisible virus someone harbors.
A mother-of-three adjusts her load. She's determined to stuff a pacifier in the baby hanging in a sack from her front. Her toddler tells her his tummy feels better now and they can go to Texas after all.
"That's good," she says wryly, "because we're in Texas."
I watch a depressed looking woman pull a carry-on slowly down the concourse. She pastes a phone to her cheek, expressionless.
A trio of flight attendants strides professionally by. Each is dressed the same, but the skirt on the bleached blonde-- orange lipstick and possibly botoxed lips-- is three inches higher than the other two wear theirs.
I watch an older couple with their granddaughter. Why do men age so much better than women? Older men-- grey, wrinkles, little paunches-- always come out ahead of women with the same features.
There's a couple with a carry-on bag that wouldn't hold much more than my son's basketball sneakers. In it their dog is curled like a cat and drugged into near oblivion for his flight.
"Can I take a picture," I ask. "She's adorable."
"She's a he," Mr. tells me.
"Sorry," I say as if I've offended a parent with a newborn. "The bow threw me off.
The dog's fur was combed off it's face and fastened with a bow.
"It's a masculine bow." The man smiles.
It's not, but I say, "Yes, like a bow tie," and smile back.
His wife, so fashionably thin she looks like she could curl up in a carry-on herself, doesn't make eye contact. I think the dog is hers. I decide she's a snob.
When we board, dog couple is in first-class where the dog has more room to dream his drugged doggy dreams than I do in my second-class seat where I scrunch for the journey home.
An uneventful landing in sleety snow, a cold dark ride home, and then bed-- four feet narrower than the one we slept in the night before, but the cat's curled between us purring in delight.
Home, sweet home.
James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death. ~ Ian Fleming