Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lurking other people's polaroids: Episode 1: This shit is getting old.

I don't pay for airport parking, not since I used to work there. It's been a while since they shredded my TSA security badge, but I still refuse to pay. But when you have a small number of friends with an even smaller number of passenger vehicles, you get creative. So I parked at my house, and walked to the Ramada three blocks away, all my luggage banging around my hips, dangling from straps and buckles. Even though I'm wearing a knee length skirt, I was honked at seven times. In three blocks. Maybe it was the lipstick.

At the Ramada, I shuffle into the lobby, straight up to the desk, and ask when the next shuttle is leaving. Did you check out? the ugly girl at the desk asks me. She's not ugly, I guess, but she's got a snaggle tooth and a weird cluster of pimples huddled around her nose. She's not Bette Davis. I already did, I say. Pointedly, I suppose. At least, I gave her what could be called a withering glance, and she didn't ask questions. I guessed, snottily enough, that her intellect, more than my look, prevented this. Ten minutes she says. I stump out the curb, my bags jangling around like a burlesque dancer's titty tassels. Or some other obscure simile for dangly luggage. Plopped down on the curb under the overhanging porch, I light a cigarette and toss the now-empty pack at the No Smoking sign pasted to the far column.

The ride to the airport was expectedly awkward: I was the only passenger in the shitty van, the letters R A M A D A A I R P O R T S H U T T L E affixed to its side in peeling red vinyl. I pressed my forehead to the glass and steadfastly ignored the questions of the kid driving it. His face was pitted and pockmarked from years of acne. We called that pizza-face in high school. I gag a little in my mouth and cross my arms.

After being ignored for the whole journey, the pockmarked kid dumps my luggage on the curb under the Delta sign, rather unceremoniously I think. I don't tip him, but instead bum a smoke off him and check my watch. He drives away, short one cigarette, and (i'd like to think) a few ounces of dignity.

Ten minutes until I can even check in. Airports make me nervous these days, which I think is odd. I used to love coming to the airport, even just to pick people up. I always felt like I was on the precipice of some exotic adventure. Today I just feel like shit.

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