Lover of the Layover

Testing. One… Two…Three.  Three… two… one.

This is my happy place. I am a lover of the layover. Enamored by airports.

Setting my six-dollar soda on the floor in front of me, I slide into one of the shockingly firm chairs that litter this wing of the Orlando airport.

I have two hours before I even need to consider moving, ample time to people watch.

The automated voice blares over the speaker system every fifteen minutes.

Testing. One… Two…Three.  Three… two… one.

A family of six is positioned in the chair pod to the right of me. Four kids are shrieking and climbing the chairs and each other as mom looks on in desperate defeat. Dad is fully absorbed in a Flappy Bird-esque game, unaware of her smacks demanding assistance.

The shrieks grow louder from the entire group.

Momma!

Get off there!

Stupid birds!

Everybody’s losing.

Testing. One… Two…Three.  Three… two… one.

A couple is sitting on a bench beyond the family. She’s been adjusting her bangs in the reflection of her smart phone for four minutes. Putting the phone down, she begins staring wistfully at the children.

I question her hearing. She wants the banshees for her own. He’s pretending not to notice. How many times has she hinted at this?

Aw look at them!

He sighs.

Testing. One… Two…Three.  Three… two… one.

Two businessmen are marching past the chairs. Their suits are unwrinkled, stiff. They have seen no vacation time.

Their steps falter. The kids! Disappearing into the Disney store, the pair returns with two giant stuffed Nemos.

Briefcases in one hand, giant orange fish in the other, they’re back on track.

Testing. One… Two…Three.  Three… two… one.

The bar behind me is packed with weary travelers and fearful tourists drowning their worries with overpriced liquor. A pilot is talking to the bartender, his voice loud enough to carry through the terminal.

The wrinkles in the foreheads of the elderly couple next to him deepen. Is this their pilot? The person in which they are placing their lives, 3 vodka tonics deep. His conversation grows louder still. He is drinking to a day well done. From here, he will go to the hotel.

The relief is palpable.

Testing. One… Two…Three.  Three… two… one.

The children are being corralled. The businessmen and their Nemo carry-ons are boarding. Pilots are packing up, couples are gathering their baggage.

It’s time to go. Another gate. Another city. Another layover.

Testing has ended. Thank you for your patience. 

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