I travel a lot, which means I spend a lot of time at airports, waiting and watching people. (Walking too, of course, carrying bags, which is why I think airport travel is the closest us modern humans get to what must have been the life of our early ancestors: walking long distances carrying heavy loads.) But I digress.
As I watch people I’ve noticed many distinctive “waiting styles” at airports. Some are golden oldies, having been with us since the earliest days of air travel–although I’m certain many more people then just looked scared to death as air travel really was much more dangerous in the 1930s and 1940s. Other waiting styles emerged after September 11. Here is my list of observed waiting styles, captured by what I imagine the different individuals are thinking as they wait. Please do let me know if there are others you have observed.
1. I’m in First Class; you are not.
2. I fly so often I’ve grown winglets on the ends of my arms.
3. You look very, very suspicious to me.
4. I have many pieces of paper that I need to organize RIGHT NOW!
5. No one, and I mean NOBODY, is going to beat me to the head of the priority access line.
6. Because I am a hugely significant business person and a Road Warrior, my two carry-on bags are HUMONGOUS, and I dare any flight attendant or gate agent to make an issue of it.
7. I must rearrange everything in my bags before I board, Here, this spot on the floor is perfect, right in the middle of where the road warriors are jousting for the pole position in the priority access line.
8. I am a young mother with 2 kids under 5 and one on the way and I’m not really sure why I married the jerk who thought it would be FUN if the whole family joined him for two days in Orlando at the end of his business trip (and he mentioned it to the kids first before I could do anything about it.)
9. I am starving. (That hike across the great Savannah lugging my TUMI bag just took the starch out of me!) I have bought 3 bags of food. I thought I could wait until we boarded but now I have to eat everything in the next 5 minutes. I hope nobody needs to sit on the chair I’m using as a table.
10. I have 23 phone calls I must make before we take off and I frankly don’t care if you can piece together my entire life story by listening to me. Just don’t tell anyone about the lies.
11. I really don’t understand this boarding by group process. Let me just stand in front of the gate so I block everyone else’s access.
12. I am a Premium Star Platinum Alliance 1 billion K person. What do you MEAN you DON’T HAVE a First-Class upgrade for me?
13. I haven’t enjoyed flying since they banned liquids and I can no longer bring my own vodka.
14. Are you looking at ME?
15. I cannot stand still. Let me pace again through the clump of people at the gate so I can run over their feet with my rolling suitcase.
16. Why is this person with no visible electronic devices (except the hearing aid) (and reading a hardcover book no less) blocking access to the only electric outlet??? I could kill him!! Wait! I don’t think anyone would notice if I used my charging cord to strangle him…