Airports are always good for people watching. There are some really odd ones out there. It’s interesting to watch the interactions and sometimes be a part of them.
When I flew out last week, I was sitting at my gate, reading the morning paper and having a coffee. Off to my right was a guy that didn’t have anything to do, so he would try to engage people in conversation. He asked a couple of guys if they were traveling on business, if so, what kind. He asked someone else where they were going once we arrived in Motown. Then I hear him say, “Hey coffee. Do you like football or soccer better?” Since I had a coffee I buried my nose deeper into my newspaper and pretended he wasn’t talking to me. Well, he wasn’t. Some other person had a coffee and was reading the sports page. Lucky me.
Before my sister picked me up I figured she needed a treat for piling 3 kids into her car to get me, so I stopped by a Caribou Coffee and got her a caramel latte for her troubles. While I was waiting for it, there was a woman standing by the condiments area and sucking on one of those packets of mustard. Huh? I wish I could have music playing while you read this… Think of the Doors…
People are strange, when you’re a stranger
Faces look ugly when you’re alone
Women seem wicked, when you’re unwanted
Streets are uneven, when you’re down
When you’re strange- faces come out of the rain (rain, rain)
When you’re strange- no one remembers your name
When you’re strange, when you’re strange, when you’re str-ange
On my trip home last night my flight was delayed. Big shocker. There was a girl that was one of those religions where they wear the blue dress with a white vest and have a white scarf on their heads. She wore no make-up. But she had a cell phone. I guess I don’t know enough about those religions to know what technology is ok and what’s not.
Some people seem approachable and somehow you end up talking. There was a man who was coming back from Oaxaca, Mexico. He was there because his mother had just died. The best part is that he was there before she died and held her in his arms as she took her last breath at the age of 89.
Another woman asked me if the flight was full while I was waiting to board. She looked like a business traveler and was trying to get on my flight. Even though she approached me, you could tell that she was an approachable type of person. She did make it onto the flight.
After I got to my seat, 19F (a window), I found I was sitting next to the fidgety Indian guy that I had seen earlier. He had NOTHING to do for the flight. I couldn’t tell if he was looking out the window or trying to see what I was reading. As soon as we got to our cruising altitude, out came my iPod. There’s nothing like ear buds to say, “please don’t try to enter my little bubble of space.”
I’m not even going to start on the TSA agents…
Most of the time I’m completely fine to talk to anyone. But it is interesting to read the cues people give. So much of communication is non-verbal. If you can’t pick up on those cues, you’re really at a disadvantage. When in doubt, it’s easier to just sit back and observe.