Every time I have occasion to travel, I always think to myself.. one of these days, these characters I encounter will make a great collection of essays and stories that really get to the depth and breadth that is the American culture at its best.. and more often than not, its worse. Today’s adventure began at Philadelphia International Airport, or more affectionately PHL. I had one of the first flights out this morning and thusly planned my arrival into the terminal at 4:30 a.m. Many heeded the security guidelines put forth by the airlines and TSA and arrived 2 hours prior to their departure time to find no airline personnel available to check their bags or scoot them through security. The line to get through security therefore, was several hundred people long when it opened. This, however, is really nothing for airport security as they truly are efficient and speedy in the process–so long as you, too, are. (I’m still awed by those lacking knowledge of the plastic baggie and removal of shoes, but whatever.) Yes, I said it, airport security, is, for the most part, highly efficient–it’s the dumbass in front of me with cowboy boots, big ass buckle on his belt that he doesn’t know he has to remove, putting his liquids in a plastic bag as he pushing his 6 containers for 3 items through the xray that is the problem.
So, as I stood online waiting for the security gate to open late, happily listening the to the Christmas carols wafting through the airport, I was ambushed from behind by panic-stricken girl on her cell complaining to her boyfriend that it would take ages to get through security and her flight left in an hour… there simply wasn’t time. I reassessed what I thought would be a 20 minute (tops) line ahead of us as she contemplated aloud if she should run to the front of the line. It was all the constraint I could muster not to explain to her that running to the front of a line that wasn’t even yet open would be fruitless. Rather for the next (very long) two minutes until the gates opened, I listened to her mutter to herself about missed flights. Somehow, and I still can’t quite piece together the logic here, this security line was going to be why she missed her connection flight and next time she’d make note to get to the airport at 3.
As it happened, I personally made it through the security gates in 10 minutes–cowboy boots and belt buckles included. Thankfully, this was due to people with children actually all using the family line. A rarity, but a gem on the morning nonetheless.
Happily at my gate, a nice chai from the coffee place steeping, I plopped down in the chair at my gate… exhaustion washed over me and for the next 20 minutes until boarding, I ignored all my fellow travellers and began my most current adventure into Augusten Burrough’s Christmas stories… a set of tales like only Augusten can tell, and which found me laughing aloud on more than one occasion… and so I leave you with this:
“…they aren’t leprechauns, son. They’re elves. Leprechauns are those little drunk motherfuckers from Ireland.” – A. Burroughs, from “You Better Not Cry”