Everyday Struggles: Airport Edition


I told myself that I needed to smoke all my weed before going through airport security even though I knew it didn’t really matter since I was flying within country. I sat in Windsor Airport’s single waiting room, eating carrots, wondering if different drugs enable humans to recall different memories, or kinds of memories. Something inaudible happened on the loudspeaker but I was zoned out, already thinking about a new topic, and then I just assumed that this “first announcement” that I just heard was axiomatically not for me. Then when I noticed a bunch of people waiting around stagnantly, I wondered if they were all perhaps waiting for a another flight different than I was booked for, and perhaps I misinterpreted the last announcement for my flight as the “first announcement” for their flight. Perhaps they were all going to Cuba in fifteen minutes– how was I supposed to know? I went up to the attendant, standing two meters away from the lineup, and asked, “Did you already call economy class?”

She continued looking down at her papers, presumably annoyed, and said, “Yup, in just a minute.”

I stood off to the side and she said something else into the loudspeaker that apparently instructed everyone to move forward. They rushed in like a fucking stampede. I stepped out of the way and continued eating carrots, wandering around near the coffee machine. When I noticed the line slowing down, I merged back into it, and trickled out at the same attendant’s podium again, this time effortlessly showing her my passport.

“Sorry about that,” I said, warmly gazing into her magical eyes.

She laughed to herself, checking the passport.

“Yup, you still look the same,” she said.

I walked into the wind, noticing that the pavement had lots of puddles and reflections going on. Then I caught up with the people filing into the aircraft.

The steward was a young attractive male and greeted me holding his arms behind his back. I bowed to him (?????) while simultaneously peering into the pilot control center. Then when I began walking down the short aisle of the aircraft, a grey-haired man wearing an orange sweater appeared to me. He was slowly putting a coat into the luggage compartment, directly above my assigned seat.

He said calmly, “You can squeeze by me if you need to get through.”

I murmured to myself, “What?”

“We’ve got plenty of time,” he added.

There was a moment of confusion when he realized that I’d been assigned to sit next to him. We awkwardly nudged by each other. I immediately threw my backpack under the seat, pulled out my notebook, and set my iPhone to Airplane Mode. In a lull of machinery and grandiose movement, I became lost in the activity of self-produced stimulus.

“You fly a lot?” a voice came penetrating into my personal sphere.

“Yes,” I said, reflecting on my mother’s Air Miles account. I laughed nervously. “Too much.”

“I only say that because you look so comfortable with it,” he said.

Then I looked at him, feeling flattered and endeared. I smiled at him with a maternal kind of sympathy and said, “Aw, are you scared of flying?”

“No,” he said, confused. “I fly a lot too.”

I recalibrated my perspective, wondering why I had automatically responded in that way.

“What do you do?” he asked. “Do you study?”

“Yes,” I replied, thinking solely about my desire to learn.

“What do you study?” he asked.

“Neuroscience,” I said, hoping he was a neuroscientist.

“You want to be a brain surgeon?”

I laughed and shrugged, “Probably not.”

“What are you going to do with neuroscience?” he asked.

“Uh- I’ll probably just keep writing,” I said, subconsciously motioning to the notebook resting on my lap.

“Oh, you’re a writer?” he said, glancing over at the pages.

Written in black fluid ink with terrible form, and crazy arrangement was the title, “HOW TO TALK TO YOUR PARENTS ABOUT DRUG USE.” I slid my hand over it stealthily, and nodded to him, trying not to laugh.

“Great way to make a living,” he said.

I recalibrated my perspective again, wondering what the purpose of this conversation was.

“What do you do?” I asked.

“Oilrigs,” he said.

I repeated the word “oilrigs,” in my head. Oilrigs.

“I make a lot of money,” he actually said. HE ACTUALLY FUCKING SAID THIS.

I could not believe what was happening to me.

“That’s good,” I said meekly, and turned my head one hundred and eighty degrees to the left.

Starring out at the sunset above Detroit, the sight of it literally moved me to tears. At this generous angle, seeing the Sun, now casting itself upon the low degrees of the earth, setting the rivers ablaze with unconceivable majesty, was almost too extraordinary to bear. In order to prevent the tears from dropping down my face, I swallowed them back into my eyeballs and closed my lids, absently sitting in my own self-produced darkness, savoring the denoument of my climactic sensation of sublimity.

“Oh, look at the windmills,” said the man, leaning over.

I looked at him, unaware of what he was thinking, still sensitive and teary-eyed meditating on the sunset. I nodded.

“Isn’t that something?” he said.

I looked longingly out at the window again and stammered, “I-it’s amazing.”

“They’re gonna put me out of work,” he laughed sarcastically.

I laughed too, and then I realized that I had no idea what he was talking about. Judging strictly by his word choice, I actually became concerned for his wellbeing.

“Really?” I asked, in a fearful tone.

“No,” he laughed. “I’ll always have a job. It’s not like here in Windsor.”

Everything he said made me feel retarded.

“Did you enjoy your visit?” I asked, decisively changing the subject.

“It was busy,” he said. “Especially with the kids running around.”

“Oh.” I was genuinely surprised that he was a father.

“How old are they?” I asked.

“Eight and twelve.”

This surprised me even more. By the way he described his pre-teens, “running around,” I assumed that he was either an older new-father or a younger new-grandfather.

“Yeah, it’s a fun age,” he said. “I miss them.”

I was deeply confused since he had so much money. “Well, you should fly them up to you then,” I said, like a computer.

“Yeah, if someone just drops them off at the airport, and then I pick them up, at the airport.”

Outlining the logistics of this event made me wonder about the regulations surrounding unattended children on airplanes. I compartmentalized this as an important inquiry for later, when I decide to become someone’s zany old aunt. Suddenly, a map of Windsor fell from the bottom of the seat in front of him.

“Is this yours?” he asked, picking it up off the ground.

My eyes grew menacingly, “No,” it said. “It’s not yours?”

The man shook his head and put it back in the seat in front. I starred at it, resisting the urge to snatch it.

“Do-do you mind if I keep it?” I asked.

“Sure,” he laughed, haughtily. “I prefer to use Google Maps.”

I laughed with a worrisome expression on my face, and reached over, surpassing his thighs, his kneecaps. I pulled up on the map, releasing it from the sleeve.

Rapidly, I retracted my arm, and held the map in my protection, my heart rate speeding. I turned away to face the window again and didn’t look back until the steward came to offer us drinks. I ordered tomato juice and tranced out in its acidic bliss, unaware of how the world could have possibly felt at that moment without tomato juice.