The Departure Lounge that Darwin Forgot

punch” Hey Mabel!” The voice that ricochets through departure lounge Z21 is a peculiar loud one. Every set of eyes has turned toward the source of the clatter. 

Except, evidently, for Mabel.

“Mabel! Where are my cigarettes?”

Everyone now waits with an expectant ear to learn about the whereabouts of the man’s tobacco. A moment later, from the other side of the lounge, the answer comes in a loud, whining moan that plaints something about fanny packs and very personal medical creams.

The man, Mervis, answers by releasing a loud burp into the already muggy lounge air. And at the exact same time, every set of butt cheeks in Z21 clinch. Mabel approaches me and I feel a true fear climb down my skin. She pulls my jacket from the seat next to mine, drops it to the floor and slams her enormous, pink-sweatpants-clad ass on it with a thump that elicited a dozen prayers for an inanimate object. 

I pick up my jacket and glare at my foe. OK, Mabel, this is war.  

I love the Christmas season, but my sociopathic tendencies whilst travelling via air are well-documented. My friends know about it, I have written in this blog about it and I am fairly certain that the FBI has a “this guy hasn’t done anything bad, but we don’t like the way he eats his air-snack so beware’ file on me.

This unpleasant tendency climbs to its peak during the preflight hours spent in airports with my fellow travellers. While I am willing to admit that much of this is my issue, people in airports are not the same as people in day-to-day life. For some reason, the word ‘airport’ means that people are now given licence to be rude, pushy and self-centered.

They devolve into a more primitive form. And Mabel and Mervis are a perfect example of this devolution. In the forty minutes we spend with them, Mervis tells everyone within earshot that he needs to go smoke but that they need to get in line first because they “have a lot of stuff.” Mabel spills the entire contents of her purse onto the floor, which was picked up by the idiot writing this blog and two other guys. When we manage to recover her belongings, she doesn’t reply with the common “thank you” but with the less common “where the fuck is my lighter?”

We learn that he has to apply his very personal cream in a very private place before the flight. This knowledge procures my second prayer of the day concerning the seating arrangement of Mervis and Myself. Fortunately, someone was listening.

The flight goes without incident until we prepare for landing in Philadelphia and are informed that we will have to undertake one of flying’s most joyous rituals – the holding pattern. Adding to this joy is that we are holding in the middle of a pancake stack of cumulus clouds that are  making the flight less than relaxing.

After an hour, the pilot finally informs us that we are Okayed for landing, and Mabel celebrates the news by getting out of her seat and going to the bathroom. The attendant shouts for her to sit down, but Mabel ignores it. While Mabel urinates, the pilot informs us that if someone isn’t in their seat, they will have to discontinue the landing.

This garners less than happy comments from the 250 other passengers who’ve been on a plane for ten hours and in a holding pattern for one hour. Needless to say, when Mabel comes out of the bathroom she is told by about 200 (pleasant) voices to get to her pink ass in her seat. She complies.

My Christmas mood reappears when we touch down safely. It strengthens when I get my bag and meet my parents and fortifies to a glorious degree when I am presented my first cheesesteak in six months. By the time my brother arrives to bring me to The Horne (our local pub) I am the Saint Nick of Langhorne.

Still, the knowledge that Mabel and Mervis are celebrating the holidays with private creams and cigarettes does little to settle the stomach.

NB: Names have been changed to protect the devolved from scientific experiments.

  1. #1 by Gabrielle Luongo on December 22, 2011 - 3:10 pm

    One time, flying to Florida, I was increasing and very obviously nervous about turbulence (flying through a storm), when two older black women were about to lecture me in faith. Seconds in, we dropped what seemed like 100 feet (lightening?) and they were shouting along with me. Ahh, in the darkest hour, there are no atheist, just child-like scared folk hoping for a G*d.

  2. #2 by Andy on December 28, 2011 - 9:41 pm

    “flying metal death tubes” should be updated/amended to include “pink sweatpants”. Hope the Christmas was fun and food filled!

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