Monday, December 1, 2008

Overheard at the Airport

Last night I gave thanks. I thanked the stars as I flew into the night sky over Pennsylvania, and pushed through the freezing air into New England, for this life. Being home for Thanksgiving made me realize some things that I often forget; for one, tolerance is a skill, and, Mom makes better food than anyone else in the world. Something about the fact that the food was prepared by my mother, or grandma, makes it taste better. Coffee is a necessary and joyous beverage. And, my family will always be there for me when I need them.

After the very homebound and low-key weekend with my family, Rodney (little bro) drove me back to the airport so I could catch my flight to Boston. The flight was delayed, due to a sort of plane traffic back up in the inclimate weather of November. Originally intended to leave at midnight, my flight got pushed back an hour. I expected to board around 12:20, and was let onto the plane at 12:30. But not before I had the pleasure of finding irritation in just about everyone around me.

I got a set of headphones and sat down to work on my crossword book before catching an episode or two of Buffy on my laptop. At the same moment, a curly-haired young woman behind me ripped open a large bag of chips and began devouring them. CA-RUNCH-RUNCH-RUNCH-MUNCH-LIPSMACK-CRUNCH. My hair stood on end with each chomp. Force yourself to deal with it, Jamie. Sit here and deal. It's just chips. No one is coming after you. Chip-chewing does not merit murder.

The sound of a bag popping open resounded from another seat.

CA-RUNCH. CHOMP...Arghhhhhh!

Unable to deal, I heaved my backpack onto my back, scooped up my coat, and began my search for a new place to sit, void of people. There was a small room filled with old payphone terminals that were no longer in service. About three other people sprawled in various corners of the room with laptops were all removing chips from bags and chowing down. My skin crawled. I sat down and jacked up the volume on my laptop and began to relax at the sound of Spike's British accent, and Buffy's beat-em-up moves biffing and bopping on the screen.

Worried I would miss my flight due to Whedon (an embarrssing situation indeed), at midnight I re-joined the cast of mainly young persons like myself waiting for the plane to arrive. A young blonde girl sat to the right of me, chattering loudly, on and on to her friends about going to Boston College, cab fare, and the MBTA.

"I walked all the way to Southie one day with my friends," the girl said. "It was SO SKETCH. I seriously felt like I was in The Departed the whole time."

Excellent! Comparing Boston to a Scorcese flick - that's realistic! Southie, whoa now, look out, you might get knocked off by the Winter Hill Gang if you walk in that area. Gimmie' a goddamned break. Was I shocked that a prissy little Boston College student from Mt. Lebanon (affluent 'burb of Pittsburgh) made such a comment? No. Nonetheless it was disheartening. It's like reducing Pittsburgh to Flashdance. Last I checked, Jennifer Beals was starring in The L Word, and chicks don't typically work as welders/flashdancers in the 'burgh. But, that's what one might assume if they project Hollywood's image of a city onto it and tout it as "the way it really is."

Suggestion: give thanks if you can see past stereotypes.

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