Date: Monday, March 14, 2016
Time: 9:42 a.m. (CST, duh)
Place: Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (Google added the Lambert; don’t shoot the messenger), Gate E18.
The single biggest indictment on human life, literally ever, is the length of the line to get into Starbucks at the St. Louis airport. You have to re-read that sentence about six or seven times before you really understand its true meaning. Promise.
True to form as the universe’s unwanted brown-headed step-something, I was thrown on a flight to here, rather than the anticipated Chicago because – and this is where it gets really fun – “the weather in Chicago is bad.” Thanks for the info, Ms. Southwest. And thanks for the thorough explanation.
I was one of the last three people to board the plane – at one point, I wondered if they were just going to shove me in with the luggage. Naturally, I was at the very, very back, in a middle seat, next to an overgrown grown man and a guy who likes to wear ball caps with brims that don’t bend. Both started twitching no less than 30 minutes into takeoff. The first guess is a restless sleep, but how could you really ever know?
There was no better choice than to resort to my sweat-filled headphones. By the time we touched down in the midwest, my left ear was covered in day-old sweat of my own (again: it’s exactly as gross as it sounds). I’m now sitting across a Burger King, which sits next to a California Pizza Kitchen, which sits next to the aforementioned Starbucks that officially blew to smithereens my faith in all waking life about a half hour ago.
The Big Blue Board tells me that the flight from here to Austin is delayed. This won’t make Bob and Arthur happy – they get antsy. It’s supposed to be a total of 10 minutes, but we all know in Air Land that “10 minutes” typically means “until your next midlife crises.”
Hey, wait. They have a Chili’s!
Wait, again. I think Jim From The Office just walked by me with a child and about 500 handsome points taken off the top.
OK. Anyway. Flying is weird, man. It’s the most crowded lonely elevator in all the land. So much of so many people are so constantly involved with their Electronic Device Of Choice that it makes me wonder how flying might have gone in the 1990s. My guess is a lot more new friends, a lot more untoward, secret encounters. And don’t even get me started on the ’80s.
I think this is the trip where I officially embrace my iPhone snobbery for good. Both oversized man and no-brim-dude treated their smartphones (both not iPhones) with the secrecy of the Taliban. Whoops. That’s dated. I meant ISIS. Meanwhile, I sat rigid for an hour-and-a-half, trying desperately hard not to knock knees with either companion, for if I ever would, I knew the consequences may be fatal.
And now I’m watching an old woman eat a banana out of a brown paper bag. Viva La South By.