Not deferential enough: Waiting

Posted Monday, May 19, 2014 in Opinion

Not deferential enough: Waiting

by Gina Hamilton

It was a Friday, and it was an unusually long week. I had a lot of work to do, and my husband was out of town, at his father's memorial service, and I was also playing daddy to the dogs, taking them for walks and to play at the dog park, as well as the other work of the farm, tending the new plants, taking care of the chickens, and so on, and dealing with the household chores ... it so happened that Chris was gone on both recycling AND trash day.

I loved his father dearly, but there was no way both of us could be gone, and in any case, it was an expensive, if short, trip, and work demanded I be present more hours than I could expect to be paid as it was. 

So by the time I got home on Friday, after checking up on a Democratic rally I wouldn't be able to get to at which the Democratic candidate for governor was expected to put in an appearance and a Special Olympics bocce practice at the Senior Center, such is the life of a small town reporter and editor, I was tired and a little cranky. I was heartened, however, when I checked Southwest's website, to discover that his flight back into Portland was expected to be on time, so I bundled up the dogs, who wouldn't be left behind for all the dog bones in ... well, wherever dog bones come from, and sang Clash songs all the way to the airport.

One of my dogs, Rudie the Dog, likes it especially when we sing her personal anthem, "Rudie Can't Fail" in the car.

Soon enough, we arrived. I bribed the girls to be good in the parking garage with a cheeseburger, bought expressly for that purpose, and left them in the car while I dashed in, or so I thought, to retrieve my husband and his baggage.

Of course, his flight was delayed, of course it was.

I had a diet coke, which I bought when I bought the cheeseburger, but I was without my waiting tool, my Kindle, which fits in my SeaBag quite nicely, and it was a real shame because I had just downloaded Piketty's 650 page "Capitalism in the 21st Century", which I was dying to read, and here I was with about an hour stretching before me with two hyper springer spaniels in the car and nothing to do except drink a diet coke and explore the ever-shrinking part of the airport they allow non-passengers to roam around in. There aren't any newsstands in the non-passenger area, a real disservice. There was one bar, which might have been a wholesome option if I hadn't been planning to drive home. And there was this lounge of sorts with passably comfortable seating and three wide screens.

Two of which were showing sports, and there were no games on, so it was some crappy sports talk show, and there is nothing worse than a sports talk show, even when you can hear it (it was muted in the lounge), because sports people on talk shows talk like morons most of the time. Every discussion goes something like this:

"So you were having some real trouble sporting out there, weren't you? What was the problem on the field/diamond/pitch/green/hardwood/court/ice/slope/ or fill in the blank of the sports venue of your choice?"

"Yeah, it was a tough day, you know, some days the other team sports better than you, and this was one of those days, and we're going to have to review the game and see how we can sport better next time."

Or, if the second guy were the lucky winner, it would be "Oh, yeah, you know, some days we sport better than other guys, but they were an excellent opponent and they sported their hearts out, but in the end, we were just lucky."

There you have it, no one ever needs to watch or make a sports talk show ever again.

The other screen was slightly more interesting. It was a split screen with the weather on one screen and the flights in the air alternating with updated information about the flights that were departing or arriving at Portland that day. i watched a little cartoon of my husband's plane moving through the airspace for about ten seconds before that became hopelessly boring, too.

Luckily, there were other people to watch. 

There were enterprising people waiting with signs with other peoples' names on them, planning to take them somewhere in a hired car. There were executive people waiting for job candidates, intern people waiting for political candidates, squeally girls waiting for other squeally girls, dads and kids waiting for moms, brothers waiting for sisters who were arriving for some grave purpose, perhaps a funeral, grandparents waiting for grandchildren who were arriving in Maine for summer camp or sailing school or vacations.  Everyone was burdened with something ... laptop cases, cell phones, raincoats, small suitcases, strollers and small children, backpacks and summer hats. Everyone greeted their target differently. The squeally girls kissed and hugged and danced. The grave brother and sister gave one another a small hug and he kissed the top of her head. The executives shook the hands of the candidates. The intern humbly took charge of the laptop case and the carryon bag. The grandparents took charge of little hands from the flight attendant, and signed some forms. The dad tried to kiss the mom without losing total control of the two year old who wanted to play on the escalator.

So much humanity in such a small space in time and place, owing to the translation of restless humanity from one city to another. 

When Chris arrived, I smiled and kissed him, then we walked off to claim the rest of his baggage. 

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