Shoes are slapping on the high gloss waxed floors. It’s 5 am. I’m walking down wide corridors, the same corridors where an hour earlier the cleaner worked his canvas in his blue starched shirt with its corporate logo on the right pocket, his dark navy pants, his work boots pumpin’ the gas-brake pedals of the industrial floor waxer. MLK, if a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. Michelangelo was here. He was.
Airports. The only thing clean, are its floors, and to a high sheen.
I’m dragging my beat-up carry-on to the gate, its left wheel handicapped from birth, and wailing the same suffering pitch for six or seven years as if stabbed with a knife at each turn of the wheel. You think nothing of spending hundreds for the latest gadget upgrade, but when it comes to luggage…
And the whispering starts.
Mother with toddler. Honey, tuck in here next to me. Cover your ears until that poor old man passes. I know, it hurts.
Retired Couple. Oh, Sam, look at him. He can’t afford new luggage. Should we ask him if he needs a few dollars to buy some WD-40?
College kids jostling. Look at that Loser, dragging that shit-can around. And look behind him, like a Pied Piper, he’s attracting rats.
Psychiatrist lifts his head from his morning paper to check out the bedlam. He could be unstable. No, he looks unstable. Can’t he see the havoc he is causing? He needs help. I should walk over and give him my business card.
I arrive at the Delta gate to confirm my place on standby.
Would you like to check that?
“Oh, no, thank you. It’s coming on board with me.”
“Sir, would you mind placing your luggage in here to see if your bag will fit in the overhead bin?”
It’s a snug fit, too snug – the left wheel catches on the frame. F*cking left wheel. If I had a hammer…
“Sir, it doesn’t look like it will fit.”
“Give me a moment.” Be a cold day in Hell before I check this bag and wait an hour in LaGuardia. Cold day…
I lean in with my full weight, the wheel bends, and then clears, and BAM! The bag slams to the bottom, dust motes fly. The attendant backs away covering her face, grimacing, her colleague snickering: Great!
I flash my SkyMiles Medallion loyalty card to request an upgrade.
Both attendants snap to attention.
“Welcome back Sir! We’re so glad to have you fly with us! How can we help you?”