Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wrong Tense

Our Atlanta airport adventure was one that was filled with some interesting characters. It all began during my slow crawl through security where, for a change of pace, the TSA officers repeatedly instructed us to keep our jackets, shoes, and belts on; keep electronics in our carryon bags, and only remove items from our pockets that would set off the metal detector (really that meant only removing cell phones, keys, and loose change. This was much easier than the usual process so I was ready to go in no time.

However, this wasn’t good enough for the woman in front of me who stubbornly refused to walk through the metal detector. First the excuse was that it was an invasion of her privacy. When that didn’t work she moved on to the ‘it causes cancer’ argument. When both of those failed to achieve her desired result, she mumbled countless complaints under her breath as she darted through the checkpoint like a cat caught in the rain. PITA’s like that shouldn’t fly.  

A little later during our time in airport limbo, having just been notified that our departure was delayed due to bad weather in the Philadelphia area, my colleague and I readjusted our luggage and hunkered down for an extended stay at the Atlanta airport. By this time, evening was beginning to creep over the horizon and everyone was eager to get on the plane and in the air. This was only exacerbated by the fact that we just witnessed the flight to Phoenix just complete the boarding and close the doors to the terminal. At least someone was going somewhere.

Needless to say the restlessness and slight boredom was slowly taking hold of the awaiting passengers. What we needed was a distraction. Something to occupy our minds until the decision to board was finally announced over the speakers. As if on cue, a flustered and disheveled woman walked quickly to the gate on the opposite end of the waiting room. We all knew where she was going but sometimes the greatest entertainment is in the reaction.

Someone missing there flight is nothing new but the uniqueness of the response is something that I have never witnessed firsthand before. You could tell by the mumbling, pacing, and anger that this was going to be good. With the situation building and the knocks on the gate door echoing across the terminal, we all shifted in our seats to get a better view as the drama unfolded. And you know what, unlike a lot of movies that clog the theaters, this performance didn’t disappoint.

As soon as we all turned, got ourselves comfortable, and began looking for the popcorn the woman slamming he fist on the door decided to change tactics. After a quick check out the window to make sure the plane was still at the gate, she returned to the desk near the door and instead of using her fist she decided to use her voice so she picked up the microphone and made an announcement over the load speakers… “US Airways personnel needed as Gate D23. A passenger is about to miss her flight!”

This ‘announcement’ was repeated, as if in an OCD loop, for about ten minutes. The one thing that kept running through my mind is that she might want to consider changing the tense in that statement because your butt isn’t getting on that plane. Her voice was a mix of both panic and pissed. You could tell that she desperately wanted to get on that plane but you could also sense that this wasn’t the first time she has found herself in this situation. Just when we thought the vain throbbing below her neck tattoo was about to burst, a woman opened the gate door and stepped behind the desk making sure that the door was closed securely behind her.

I give the US Airways employee credit because she managed to hold her ground while calming the incessant passenger. In what was an anticlimactic conclusion, the woman hovered above the computer screen while alternate arrangements were made. Before long, the matted haired woman stormed off and made her way to some other part of the terminal (either the new gate or the bar). And in a moment of perfect choreography, the announcement was made for passengers to begin boarding our flight home.