I’m sitting in an airport, conference-bound, waiting for my flight to Austin. Flying Southwest is usually not my first choice, but I need to revise that protocol.
I. Love. This. Airline.
Oh, not because of the convenience, cost, or comfort (ok, maybe the comfort, JUST kidding) . . . I love the people who sit all around me in the Boise airport.
And those who will soon stand with me in line to board after having hunched over their computer 24 hours previously to hit the button at the first possible moment for check-in to snag an A group boarding pass <whew, need to catch my breath – sorry, but the sentence and sentiment begged to run on>.
I forgot and am in B this time. And I might forget more often. The potential for bloodshed is even higher in the B group.
A lady, bless her heart, (I am headed to Texas, after all) asked me for my ‘number’ (and it was clearly not cuz she was liking the goods). Nope. I was B45 and she was B41. Thus, she informed me, ‘B45 should stand behind B41, B42, B43 and B44′ (and yes, she counted ’em down). I didn’t tell her she was in the wrong section and should be moving up to the little piece of carpet I held in triumphant concert with B42, 43 and 44 (all of whom WERE standing in front of me ~ I was in elementary school too after all). I simply apologized profusely for my ‘error’ (and snickered at the eye-rolling going on behind her back – one SHOULD celebrate his or her inner adolescent now and then).
I will also love the people who sit with me at the next place I make a connection . . . and those who will board when the massive plane lands to take on more cattle – er – passengers.
You see, I finally embraced my sick and twisted psyche and began writing again a few years ago. Sometimes, other writers reference the need to write as a means to capture the ‘voices in their head’.
Not me, baby.
I have plots in my head – conspiracies sprinkled with sex and social justice – featuring cretins who eventually, and reluctantly, find justice at the hands of a caustic, geeky, semi-plump blonde chick with corkscrew curls (and yes, I am familiar with the signifiers of narcissistic personality disorder, but fall short of the necessary number for a clear diagnosis, heh heh heh). The characters anchoring these plots are inspired by the faces, events, and geography surrounding me.
And food . . . food inspires – not just for sustenance and sugar, but in terms of what it says about the individual preparing to consume it. Next time you’re in a restaurant – ESPECIALLY in an airport food court — look around.
Watch the man who studies his cutlery while the woman across the cheap formica-covered table jabbers away.
Watch him stroke his fork, first with his thumb, then his index finger.
Watch him adjust the spoon with the tip of his calloused finger, tap thoughtfully on the pitted handle of the butter knife with that same, single, blunt-tipped finger. He flicks his eyes up. Not, as you might predict, to her breasts. Not even to her face. No, he zooms into the pulse at the base of her neck.
Now, I ask you, what on earth might he be thinking?
Thank you Southwest Airlines.
Thank you crappy economy forcing more people to cram tightly into airplanes for cross-country travel.
Thank you pen, paper, and keyboard for allowing vent to the sick and twisted plots I happily capture in story.
It’s amazing to find, in the most horrendous of circumstances, the opportunity to, perhaps someday, tell a story that will distract a traveler sitting in an airport waiting for a plane. Where, unexpectedly, do you find a writer’s joy?
PS: A nonadult recently explained to me that I wasn’t using complete sentences and had split infinitives. I take enormous comfort in knowing our next generation treasures good grammar. Thank you, and, as promised, this disclaimer is for you. While I ride my students’ asses without remorse for the slightest technical infraction in their writing, ‘do as I say not as I do’ works as well in fiction as it does in parenting. 😉