Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The New West

Airports are like the Wild West of modernity. They are the crossroads where everybody is a stranger. Different languages proliferate. There is a definite vibe in airports.

Myself, I love them. I pretend that, in fact, I am a mysterious loner who just arrived from Dodge City. Quietly, I smoke a cigarillo in the corner (we are pretending, remember). I nod my head to the waitress. Yeah, I'll have another beer. It's what keeps me goin. Keeps me sane. Slowly I place my right hand at my side and feel the cold grip of my colt revolver. My gun. My savior. My protector. My god.

I throw a ten on the table, stand up, adjust myself, and look for my way outta this place. Gate A7. Just follow the signs. Heck. I wish it was that easy.

After a short walk, I come upon a border outpost. They check my papers (the bastards), but they ain't got shit on me. I throw them a quick look, just to make sure they aren't ready to start something with me. God help em. They have no idea who I am or what I am capable of. I pity them.

Finally, we jump into reality and the Wild West is left behind at the gates, only to be replaced by the sterility of the waiting areas. Lots of neutal colors and chairs that are arranged as efficiently as possible. Nobody really talks. It would disturb the balance. Instead, we drink free coffee out of thimbles and audibly shuffle the latest issue of The Financial Times. *Ding dong ding* The chimes announce that we are now boarding the plane from Munich to Zurich. Interestingly enough, the announcement is in English. We are travelling from Germany to Switzerland, yet the announcements are in English. That was kind of weird. Same thing happens on the plane.

The flight attendants entertain me. I love how they have to treat the passengers like children. When a passenger raises his or her hand to ask a question, the flight attendant comes by, kneels down to be at eye level (if it is a woman, she tactfully keeps her legs together while kneeling and places her hands between her knees, just to make sure), and speaks in a high pitched voice. Her hair is pulled back. I guess that makes it harder to grab when somebody throws a tantrum. Hell, they even give out juice and cookies! I want a Winnie the Pooh coloring book, dammit!
During the "Safety Instructions" (sort of like a fire drill), I shot the stewardess a smile. A "This is pretty funny. You must get a kick out of this" smile. She understood fully and returned with a smile of her own. We bonded.

I am rather sleepy. To be continued....

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