Monday, July 23, 2007

Life In An Evening.

My name is Rhythmic and I like airports.

There, I've said it.

I've always liked them, maybe influenced by the fact I've lived most of my life so near to Heathrow, a flightpath is something that houses are built under as far as I'm concerned. There's something about airports, Heathrow in particular, that excites me.

There's something about most things that excites me. Just the thought of Colombo can make me feel like one of those dogs with its head out of a car window. Eyes wide open, tongue hanging out, heavy breathing, head turning in all directions looking at everything. That's me, far too frequently for my own good.

On Saturday night, such is my glamorous lifestyle, I was asked by my Dad to go to Heathrow to collect my cousin, who was flying in from Denmark. I checked my diary, there were no gigs, no rehearsals and no dates with Fergie (either the Man United one or the Black Eyed Peas one). I didn't mind much and headed off for Heathrow. At about this time most of you lot were probably partying at the Galle Face Hotel. I bet there were more Sri Lankans at Terminal 4 though.

I turned up at the terminal, one of my personal favourites. It's clean, modern and never too crowded. I wandered over to the arrivals area and went to the Costa Coffee or Starbucks or whatever it is there. The board indicated that the flight was roughly on time so I got my latte in and grabbed a seat. Costa Coffee is ok with me, but why they have that strange sizing system that no one understands I don't know. All the "skinny" and "grande" and the other one is a tad confusing. I long for the simple days, when we had small, medium and large, when Big Macs were good for us and KFC was called Kentucky Fried Chicken because that's what it sold.

There was a pleasant period of people watching to look forward to.

Do people become better looking at airports? This always amazes me, the ratio of good looking to uglies goes up considerably compared with the normal street ratio. Maybe it's because so many are in holiday outfits, maybe it's the mood they're in, relaxed, happy and smiling, whether arriving or departing. But there are definitely more sexy people per square foot at an airport than at the local shopping centre.

There I was, sipping my latte through the little hole on the lid of the cup, another confusing idea. If you don't get it lined up perfectly with your mouth the whole thing goes a bit messy and dribbly, so continual visual monitoring is a prerequisite.

I glanced up at the arrivals board and noticed that a Sri Lankan Airlines flight had just come in from Colombo, this set off a whole new wave of excitement in me and I looked around and settled in for a session of one of mine and my siblings' favourite games; spot the Sri Lankan. It's quite self explanatory, not quite as much fun when you're on your own but still good stuff.

There are always interesting people at airports and I went through so many different emotions as I watched them. I felt like you do when you wake up after a deliciously sexy dream, only to remember that this is the object of said dream, full of highs, lows and confusing thoughts.

As I watched young children waiting impatiently with one parent for the other to arrive I shared their excitement. Then, when the children caught just the tiniest glimpse of the parent and ran at full pelt towards them, to envelope them in hugs and kisses, I could share the joy of all of them. It's a good few years since my girls were that age but I can remember it vividly. These days they're far too cool for public displays of affection towards their old man, even if I am the coolest Dad in town!

I felt abundant happiness as I watched couples embrace and greet each other after being separated. There were those who wrapped each other in their arms and didn't want to let go, there were some who kissed on the cheeks and were clearly too self conscious for anything else and there were a few who were oblivious to anyone else around and acted out their favourite slightly soft porn film.

I saw grown up sons meeting their parents. There was one set that displayed an interesting battle of the stags between the father and the son. The son wanted to take control and steer his parents in the right direction, the father was having none of it and insisted on leading the way while pushing his own trolley. It was all done with smiles and laughter but still fascinating to observe.

The obligatory pack of boy scouts and girl guides returned from some place, coming back home so much closer than when they left, to be met by parents and siblings. There were twenty something types coming back from wherever with unusual and massive cases, containing who knows what, probably sporty things. Most of us waiting were peering at these oversized cases and guessing what they contained. I still haven't got a clue.

The cab drivers are an interesting bunch. Often they know each other, but only vaguely, so overheard conversations are slightly warmer than introductory ones but slightly colder than those between friends. Talk of the weather, the traffic, the last fare, that kind of stuff.

The funniest thing was the gay bloke from Miami. I don't know he was gay, nor do I know if he was from Miami. He might have been from San Francisco, maybe he was a raving heterosexual. Maybe Dominic will close the Barefoot garden because of lack of ambience, maybe I'll manage to get some half decent service at the Galle Face Hotel and maybe I'll suddenly start to hate rice and curry.

But, this bloke, the one who might not be gay, strolled out of the arrivals place. He was wearing a tank top with a T shirt underneath. His arms, chest and everything were built up like only a dedicated gym user could manage, that's a gym that does a big sideline in steroids too. Frankly his whole physique was that of a brick shithouse, one that had decided to do some training in order to win the brick shithouse olympics.

He was wearing jeans, the light blue, slightly faded type. He wore white loafers, with big gold buckles and he walked like, well like he had a vibrator stuck up his arse. There's just no other way to describe that whole "mincing" walk. Remember Dave Grohl as the air steward in the video for Learn to Fly. That was him. If he had walked normally and hadn't worn the white shoes I would have been scared of him. As it was I was close to laughing aloud at his campness. I wanted to go up to him and tell him that it's probably ok to dress like that in Miami but here in London it's not such a good idea.

He minced out, all attitude, hairspray and muscles and, on failing to find the person who was meeting him, minced off towards the exit, presumably to get a cab. I looked around, expecting to see a "meeter" running off into the distance hoping that he hadn't been spotted.

Then came the Sri Lankans. But, I'm going to tempt you, it warrants a whole separate post. The subject of watching Sri Lankans entering the country is a funny and poignant one and I'll cover it another time. Let's just say for now, that I've split them into four distinct categories.

The Danish cousin strolled out, after the Lankans, we did the manly greeting thing, went to the car park to pay the extortionate fee and I drove off, to drop at my parents' place, into the lion's den as it were.

I drove home, feeling like I'd experienced life in an evening.

In a way I had.


naz said...

Excellent post. excellent observations.

Theena said...

"emember Dave Grohl as the air steward in the video for Learn to Fly."

Complete with the horse-like teeth that Dave is famous for? Should have take a picture discreetly, R.

not sarong troubleshooter said...

20:30-ish? What a coinkidinky.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Not Sarong Troubleshooter - Yes, were you there too?