Gay Writes

Airport irritations: A list

by Thomas Cushman

Written while on my way to Milwaukee, in January.

Category A: Show some dignity and quiet down
1. Why do gate agents use the P.A. system at the same time? You sit at the end of the terminal (isn’t that redundant?) surrounded by six or eight gates, waiting for your flight to board. But you must hear every update for the flights to Detroit and Denver, to Cancun and Kansas City.

“United Airlines flight 7511 to New Orleans is ready for boarding as soon as our missing flight attendant is located” is drowned out by “Delta Flight 667 to Milwaukee is in final boarding stages, all of you unfortunate ticketed passengers should be on board,” which is in turn overwhelmed by “will the passenger who left an item at Security Checkpoint 7 please return for the missing item?”

And how useless is that last kind of announcement anyway? Do you ever remember which security checkpoint you’ve gone through? And who honestly knows they’re missing an item — if you knew, wouldn’t you have returned for it already?

2. People who yell into their cell phone as if it were a soup can on a string. You hear their whole conversation — at least half of it. And it’s usually a completely pointless conversation anyway. I think they’re loud-talking on purpose, as if to say, ‘look at me, I have a cell phone’. Children in Zimbabwe now have cell phones. They are not a mark of status.

Category B: Please look in the mirror before leaving your house
1. Full-length sweaters. Ladies, these aren’t hiding your wide hips. You’re emphasizing them. The stretched out, lumpy, cotton/poly blend is not a Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak. That sweater dress will never look as good as when you first tried it on. Don’t succumb to them; you look cheap, wide, and lazy.

2. Sweatpants. If you are over age 14, stop with the sweatpants. Yes, I know they are comfortable and I imagine they are incredibly easy for traveling. But you are an adult! Suck it up and look like one.

3. Shorts on people at the airport in the middle of winter. Do you do this because you want everyone to know you are traveling to Florida or Mexico or taking a super-exclusive three-day, all-inclusive Disney cruise? It is five degrees below zero. No exaggeration. Do you honestly think jeans will be so uncomfortable when you arrive that you must wear shorts when it’ss cold enough to solidify blood in your veins? I am not buying it. You obviously want everyone to know you’re flying south. Don’t you realize that half the people at the airport are doing exactly the same?

Category C: You’re in my way
1. The clueless wanderers who meander the concourse, drifting left to right to left and then further left and then back to the right; no discernible pattern, impossible to pass when one is in a hurry. They’re drawn to glossy magazines, TV monitors, yogurt shops… anything that’s bright or flashy or trashy. Apparently, these zigzaggers were never taught that in the Western Hemisphere we walk on the right side. When one finally does manage to pull by — maybe having pushed through their left drift and the left concourse wall, and maybe a toddler or two, they have the nerve to give a look of annoyance, as if you are being rude. In an airport.

2. Speaking of toddlers, the airport isn’t the place to teach them how to walk. They’re like a self-powered carry-on that’s broken free and developed a mind of its own. Don’t you understand how easy it is to trip on your little terrors? Teach it how to walk on your own time, not on mine.

I think you must agree that we’d all be much closer to our authentic selves if you’d get the hell out of my way when I am running through the airport, reading my cell phone. And if you would dress nicely and whisper quietly so I can pretend I’m at a museum. And if you would quit throwing it in my face that you are going on a tropical vacation while I am going to work in Milwaukee. In January.
Is that so much to ask? I don’ think so.

Gay Writes is a DiverseCity Series writing group, a program of SLCC’s Community Writing Center. The group meets the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month, 6:30–8 p.m., 210 East 400 S., Ste. 8, Salt Lake.

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