Monday, January 01, 2007

242. a surreal new year's morning

It's the morning after New Year's. I'm writing from McCarran International Airport in Vegas, waiting for my flight back to Seattle. I've probably been here for about half an hour and I've already seen four very odd occurrences.

1. While waiting in line at the security checkpoint, there was a scene. A woman chased after a man in the first class security checkpoint line yelling to him that she needed her boarding pass to get through the checkpoint. A couple of guards came up and rather politely (I thought) escorted her back past the point where she should have shown her pass. At first the man just ignored her. As she continued to yell to him, he turned and said something about her using her passport and her credit card.

Eventually the couple were brought to a more secluded area where they could work out their differences. It didn't look good for her.

2. While waiting in the same line, there was a TSA agent reminding passengers about the new regulations regarding beverages, liquids, lighters, etc. It was a pretty long line and you could tell by the green faces that there were a bunch of people in line with hangovers. To lend an air of levity to his terse, formal warnings, once he was done listing the new regulations, he asked people if they were feeling the effects of the party last night.

Most people just laughed or smiled, but one lady felt it necessary to yell, "well I feel like shit." The TSA agent, caught off guard, said something about not meaning to offend, to which she replied, "well stop asking stupid questions."

3. Past the security checkpoint, I put my shoes back on and start making my way to my gate when who do I see but the same couple that caused the first scene. The man has his arm around her shoulder and she is leaning her head against his. They were walking slowly together towards who knows where.

4. I make it to my gate and I'm about half an hour away from my boarding time and behind me, a lady is having a near conniption on the phone. She's speaking to a customer service rep (henceforth, CSR) and while I'm not one to eavesdrop on others' conversations, she was speaking so loudly and the situation seemed so unbelievable that it was next to impossible to ignore her plight.

Turns out, she came to Vegas this weekend to get married. The day before the wedding, her husband died of a heart attack. She made arrangements with the funeral home to fly the body back to Seattle (I read somewhere that on average, there is at least one dead body in the container hold of every commercial air flight). She was speaking to the CSR, trying to get the price of the ticket he would have used to fly back (were he still alive) applied to the cost of shipping back his body as cargo. It was obvious that this was something that wasn't in the CSR's training manual, but the lady (understandably) wasn't taking, "I don't know" or "you need to call this other number" for an answer.

And I felt for her because not only does she have to deal with the grief of losing her fiance (who was hours away from being her husband), she also has the added headache of tying up these complicated loose ends.

Wow, what a morning.

I really hope this isn't a harbinger for the year to come. Granted, I'm not at the airport on just any day and Vegas is certainly not just any city (more on this in a blog to come) but if this year is half as odd as the past hour has been for me, I'm in for a crazy year.

It now sounds as if the lady with the dead fiance has resolved her issues and at the same time, it's was nice to see that the couple worked out their differences (at least for the minute or so that I saw them). I don't know if the "stop asking stupid questions" lady ever settled down, but I like to think that maybe she took a chill pill and is feeling better as well.

Happy New Year, everybody.

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