While traveling from Florida to New York City two days ago, I found myself mid-journey sitting in the airport at Charlotte, North Carolina, nibbling on a sandwich and observing life around me. There is always so much to observe in airports and many a time have I amused myself for hours in between flights simply by doing nothing else but wandering around and watching my fellow human beings.
And during the 2 hours I spent at Charlotte’s airport, there certainly was no shortage of things to observe and think about, some of which I wish to share with you below.
I love Caribbean accents. Is there any other type of accent that sounds so laid-back and soothing? Even when they’re upset, such as the four women from Barbados sitting next to me whose flight home had just been canceled, people from the Caribbean often sound as if they’re still loving every minute of life. And it’s all thanks to that beautifully melodic accent. (When compared to the New Yorker sitting on the other side of me who was complaining loudly because our flight to NYC was delayed by 15 minutes, I couldn’t help but think that our world would be a significantly more relaxed place if we all learned how to speak English like Jamaicans.)
Of course, no matter what one’s accent may be, I’ll still never understand…
Why do men talk on their mobile phones while urinating in a public restroom? I don’t get it and it just seems nasty and wrong. Urinating and telephone conversations don’t mix, especially when both are being done in public. And usually, just as was the case the other day, I only see such behavior while using the restrooms in airports.
Speaking of public men’s restrooms, working inside of one, such as the attendants who constantly clean the restrooms at Charlotte’s airport while handing out paper towels and wishing every single person a safe journey, has to be one of the most unpleasant jobs on the planet. I probably tip these people more than any other service worker I come across as I simply can’t imagine having to spend 8 hours every single day stuck inside a public restroom.
And while I don’t tip the airline check-in staff…
Being overly kind to such airline personnel certainly does have benefits, especially if it’s 6:30am and every other passenger around you seems to be a bit grumpy. Usually I’d be grumpy at 6:30am as well but for some reason, on this day, I was in a chipper mood. And after cracking a couple of jokes with the woman at the check-in counter, I found myself with a free exit row seat for both of my flights. Not only that but she let me in on a US Airways secret…all exit row seats become available (without the extra fee) 45 minutes before departure. All one needs to do to land one of those seats is to ask at the gate.
However, there is one type of seat that is even better than the exit row…
Rocking chairs! Placing rocking chairs inside of an airport terminal building is simply an excellent idea. Everyone loves rocking chairs (right?) and it’s much more enjoyable to spend time between flights slowly rocking back and forth in a large, naturally-lit open space than it is to sit on an uncomfortable, thinly cushioned bench at a dark and dreary departure gate.
And whoever thought of having rocking chairs inside the Charlotte airport is probably the same person that decided to…
Place a piano that passengers can play in that very same open space. Another brilliant idea. I certainly wouldn’t mind being stuck for days at an airport that has rocking chairs and a public piano. Of course, it does help when there is someone there who knows how to play the piano. As soon as children climb onto the piano bench and start pounding their fists onto the keys, it’s not such a pleasant or relaxing experience any more.
Do you know what else is not a very pleasant experience?
Let’s just say that the Department of Homeland Security does not appreciate it when passengers attempt to enter the airport security checkpoints from the exits. After my first flight had landed in Charlotte, I began the walk to the next terminal building from where my second flight would depart. But somehow, and perhaps it was a result of my fascination with the rocking chairs that I came upon, I entered into some sort of trance where I wasn’t paying any attention at all to where I was walking. I only snapped out of that trance when a TSA officer started yelling at me. I looked up and realized that I had wandered into the security checkpoint area by accident. I hadn’t made it to the metal detectors but I was only a few feet from where passengers collect their belongings after passing through the x-ray machine. After yelling at me to stop, the Officer just threw his hands in the air in disbelief and I chose to quickly turn away and jog away from there.
Incredibly, as I jogged away, I was still moving quite slow in comparison to…
Every single person whose flights had just arrived in Charlotte. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this but people walk super fast when they get off an airplane. It’s as if the momentum from flying through the air at 500 miles per hour continues once passengers are allowed out of their seats at the gate. I watched several airplanes pull up to their gates and every single time, a few minutes later, 200 passengers burst out of the jetway at hyper-speed and blasted through the terminal building like blazing comets. My guess is that they maintained this daredevil pace until they reached the luggage carousel, where they then probably got upset at having to wait 15 minutes for their luggage.
At least they were dressed comfortably while standing there waiting because…
The only time wearing sweatpants is considered perfectly acceptable these days seems to be while traveling. I remember when I used to wear my favorite blue sweatpants to school (I know, I know…but it was a good 20 years ago) and now you hardly see sweatpants anywhere. But if you’re like me and you crave a little sweatpants nostalgia every now and then, just make your way to the airport and you’ll be reliving those fond childhood memories in no time at all.
And that concludes the summary of the thoughts that went through my mind while in the Charlotte airport. Do you have any other interesting airport observations to share?
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