I’m sitting, at the gate. 6 am.
Slumped in the seat, I unstrap the day-to-moment: alarm, bleary-eyed 4 am shower, the pack-up, the last once-over of the room, the tip for the cleaning lady, the hotel checkout including erasure of the $18.95 wifi overcharge, tip for the bellman, cab, boarding pass, security and of course, the slow march down the corridor with the bag. The bloody bag, wheels now up, exhausted from the trek, is resting peacefully.
Sigh. It’s ok.
I twist in the ear buds, find Today’s Chill playlist and turn inward, deep into the Head.
30 minutes till boarding.
There’s a stir in the waiting area. Ladies chattering.
Hair gelled and swept back. Fitted black sport coat. White starched shirt. Skinny black tie. Slim fit, boot cut, stone-washed jeans. European style boots, fine polish. Accessorized with a smart brown leather case, Louis Vuitton-like with a fancy French handle like Porte-Documents Jour. As he passes by check-in, there’s a whiff of Tom Ford oud wood eau de perfume which fills the waiting area with its rose wood, cardamom, and tonka bean alchemy. Ladies swoon, now fully under the spell.
He takes the empty seat next to me, and sets the Porte-Documents Jour neatly on his lap.
I slide my bag under the seat, out of sight. Jesus. Mr. Dandy had to sit here?
I close my eyes. Shift in my seat. Can’t find a sweet spot, this seat cushion where 53 million travelers sat before me. Ass to manufactured steel. I shift uncomfortably.
Mr. Dandy sits with his hands cupped one over the over on top of his Porte-Document Jour. No ear buds. No books. Just sitting peacefully, absorbing the adoring lights on him, and oblivious to CNN blasting from the monitor overhead about Trump’s tweets, flooding in California and a Man who was told he was fat actually having 130 pound tumor.
Sigh. It’s not ok. Really.
Down 15 lbs, there’s been casualties. Jacket is oversize, cuffs below wrist, sleeves invisible. Shoes, scuffed, dusty and oversize, callouses forming on baby toes, left and right. Belt synched up on pants to hold them up, waist band bunching up front – sweat pants really, not fitting as relaxed-fit Chinos were designed – and all nicely rumpled from a bad fold job. Shirt would fit a thick necked wrestler, but on me, pooching in the front, tail untucked in the back. Underwear, black gotchees, hanging loosely. Socks, over-the-calf, somehow too tight, pinching legs. Unshaven, with 2-day bristle, but nothing cool about the sharp grey-black splotchy stubble rounding out the ensemble. Oh, let’s not forget the Old Spice (Old Man) deodorant and a splash of something akin to pungent sticky, insect repellent.
The attendant makes the boarding call. Dandy stands and walks to the gate, all eyes locked-on.
I sit up, tuck in my shirt tail, thinking that will clean this up, and drag my carry-on, which has awakened with its wailing. Wow, what a f*ing mess.
Melvv cues up on my Favorites with “Not Me“:
I keep falling down when I stand on my feet
Feeling like a clown when I say what I mean
Screw it. Let it all go. Middle Aged Man, is going sagging. Really, like who cares.
Take off belt, let pants sag, let the black gotchees and crack hang out. Going Street.
Like who cares, right?