Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Airport Express

Sunday night saw the arrival of C, which, it has to be said, after almost three months apart, was nice.

This meant that I had to rush off early from a Solskala band practice to steam over to Heathrow and pick her up, much to the amusement and derision of my bandmates.

I did all that, thinking I'd made good time until I joined the queues to park at the airport and remembered that Sunday was the night when all the flights from every brown skinned country arrive. Luckily the Indians here, though they speak in foreign tongues (to me) and exhibit some frankly alien behaviour, mostly drive like Brits. Which is to say that they obey the rules of the road.

I like that, they can do what they like in the comfort of their own homes, but certain rules, like stopping at a give way sign and not parking on a single yellow line, unless you're legitimately loading, are only ignored by East Europeans and the like.

I parked, fought my way through the throng of people and got into the arrivals section of the terminal where I found even more people. I checked the board to find that C's plane was due in about five minutes. Perfect, I thought, and settled down for a good spell of people watching.

I've had a worrying soft spot for airports for as long as I can recall. The girls mock me for many things everything, but one of the specifics is the fact that, as a young teenager, I used to be a plane spotter, a proper one with binoculars, notepads and that book where I'd cross out the aircraft registrations I saw.

As I advanced through my teens the hobby of plane spotting was put to one side, in favour of my newer hobbies; music and masturbating. I've never told my kids this though.

Even now you can give me an airport and I'm a happy ex plane spotter. I can watch the planes, the staff, the people or just sit and soak up the general atmosphere and I'm sorted, as we say here in Londinium.

So the idea of settling down to a spell of watching the crowds as they waited for their loved ones was a rather appealing one and I got down to it with the eagerness of a lead singer complaining that a song is in the wrong key to suit his voice.

It took about ten minutes to even get a spot at the barrier, such was the rush. Once I did, I settled myself and tried to make the space I occupied my own. I did the human version of peeing on my territory; I spread my arms out, I stuck my elbows out and made myself about two foot tall by planting my feet on the ground as wide apart as possible. This was successful for four seconds, until an Indian fellow, as if he was driving in Colombo traffic, managed to find a non existent gap next to me and squeezed himself into it.

I scowled, tutted and hissed a bit like a snake with wind. He ignored me and just stood there so I did what all Brits do in these kind of situations; I shrugged my shoulders, smiled and apologised. That told him. I knew it from the way he ignored me.

The people watching began. I really enjoy it. There's something about an airport crowd that's spellbinding. I love looking at the greeters and trying to figure out who they're going to meet.

Will it be a partner, a parent, a child, a friend or a customer?

Will the greeting be one of those running in slow motion and flinging their arms around each other ones or will it be a kiss on the cheek? Might it be a polite handshake or a manly hug with some good firm backslapping? (something that seems all the rage among the young male Asian crowd these days)

That young child standing by the barrier there. Is he going to run up to Grandparents or cousins? Is he waiting for relatives he adores or only just tolerates?

The Chinese looking woman in the business suit, who was she waiting for? I never actually did get to find out that one.

A twenty something trendy looking guy was standing near to me holding a bunch of flowers and looking as awkward and self conscious as one can imagine. When his girlfriend ( I assumed) appeared she looked pretty embarrassed too. I felt for him.

During all this observing the thought flitted through my head that, perhaps on a day when I was bored, I might come down to Heathrow just to people watch. Would that be sad or weird, or both? I think it might be, but it would also be fun, though I might have to have some sort of pretend phone call as if my passenger was delayed or something, just in case someone was watching me the way I watch them.

Then C arrived.

Our greeting, on a scale from running in slow motion and wrapping arms round each other at one end to polite handshake at the other end, was probably closer to the latter. I think I'm a bit too old for slow motion running, chances are I would have tripped over and landed on my arse. It's bad enough at normal speed but doing that in slow motion would just hurt even more.

But, without giving you too much detail, there were pursed lips and noises involved.

I sent her off on the train, while I stayed behind to watch more people.

When I see her next time she'll understand.

5 comments:

maya❤ said...

Kind of sad actually. You mean to say... you picked your girl from the air port only to drop her off at the train station ? ...so...long distance relationships do work !

maya❤ said...

Hi, I just wanted to reiterate, when I said 'kind of sad' in my previous comment...I did'nt mean 'you' were 'sad' by any means ( obviously)...what i honestly meant was...more like 'sad that you could'nt spend more time with your girl'...

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Maya - Just to make it clear, I was only joking about sending her off on the train and staying behind to watch people. She did actually come home with me!

Thanks for the comments as ever.

Marc said...

I love airports too...they have a certain atmosphere about they that you just don't get in any other place. As I've spent most of my life in a different country to my parents people spotting at airports is a regular occurance to me, and I cherish it in much the same way you do.

maya❤ said...

I will stop commenting on blogs too early in the morning...better wait till slightly later in the day when the full effects of the caffeine in my coffee has made its mark... sorry about the confusion.