The Terminal

Schiphol Gate D, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsThe terminal is huge. I should know. I’ve been wandering around it for the past hour, people watching. You’ve done it before. Don’t pretend you haven’t. It’s easy. Just sit down in a spot and pretend to be doing something else. Periodically check your watch, or study your fingernails, or even put on your sunglasses and pretend to be asleep. Then just listen to what’s going on around you. You’d be surprised at what you’re privy to when people don’t know you’re watching or listening to them.

But finding a spot to stop is tricky, because terminals work in cycles, just like anywhere else. Planes aren’t always taking off or arriving, but when they do either of these two things mad rushes ensue at different parts of the vast terminal. There are people running late who are dodging others left and right to try and make it to their gate. There are people who are hurrying to line up because they know how long it takes to board the airplane and they want to be able to relax in their seats as soon as possible. There are people who are waiting for others to get off the plane so they can embrace and appreciate a closeness that has been absent as long as they have been separated.

So I stop at Gate D44 because it’s not crowded with people in line for a flight or with people waiting to greet those disembarking from a flight. In fact, only two small groups of people are in the chairs servicing the gate. I glance briefly at the board and see that the next flight to Stockholm leaves from this gate in three hours. I sit down. I’m not going to Stockholm but I’m interested to see who is. This is the glory of watching and listening to strangers. I put on my sunglasses and lean back in my chair. I am directly across from the nearest small group of passengers, three people who somewhat resemble each other.

“I wish we didn’t have to get here so early,” the girl with blonde hair says. She is probably 15 years old, and already bored with the grand adventure. She is wearing a white t-shirt and short shorts. She pops her gum and I am reminded of when I used to pop my gum. Continue reading “The Terminal”

Home. Improvement.

How exactly did I get into these home improvement shows? Back in the day, if I had my druthers, I would have watched anything but the home improvement channel. Well, that and the surgery channel (blood is not my thing). I was into Kelly Kapowski, the crew from Friends, even Days of Our Lives, but … Continue reading Home. Improvement.

What Dad Really Wants

As Father’s Day approaches (in just one week) I am reminded once again of making things for my dad when I was little. Small things really, like a paper tie, a pocket protector made from construction paper, a church made out of popsicle sticks, numerous cards I created myself, and the list went on. Most … Continue reading What Dad Really Wants

Checked Out: Week 21

You know those kinds of books that just grab you, shake you like a wet dog, and force you to read them at every possible opportunity? Yes, I know those kinds of books, too, and I’ve read my fair share of them, but you never know which one might fit the bill until you actually … Continue reading Checked Out: Week 21

@ Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin DonutsWe drove up to the Dunkin Donuts in Upper Darby this morning, desperately seeking doughnuts for the children and a coffee for me. I’m just not operating fully if I don’t have some caffeine in me at some point during the day. Outside the shop were several teenagers lounging and smoking, looking like they had just rolled out of bed, even though I’m sure school was already in session at that point. They had no intention of entering the place, instead preferring to use the grass out front as a hangout spot for delinquents.

A young girl was standing in the doorway.

“Excuse me,” I said to her as I opened the door wider to get past.

“You excused,” she responded, not moving one inch, but we somehow made it by her anyway.

Welcome to Philadelphia.

The floors were sticky, like they had just been mopped by by filthy water that only put more grit on the floor instead of taking it off. We stepped carefully while inside, as we made our way to the counter. Two ladies were working back there, doing a complicated dance that they should have made look simple but didn’t. One was manning the drive-thru, which I had noticed outside was five cars deep, and the other was in charge of helping customers in the actual store. There were two of us.

“I would like a coffee, please,” I told the lady when she stopped long enough to listen. “Cream and sugar.”

“What size you want?” she asked without looking at me.

“I guess I’ll take a large,” I said, having not thought it out beforehand, only knowing I needed caffeine.

“You want a medium?” she responded, as if I hadn’t said a thing.

“Suuuure. I’ll take a medium,” I told her, looking over at my wife to see if she had heard the exchange. She was rolling her eyes, and I realized I was too. I mean, seriously? The lady ended up making me a medium coffee, but at least it had cream and sugar in it. Continue reading “@ Dunkin Donuts”

The River

The river takes aim Sliding slickly through On its way out to sea It follows the winding path As it meanders downhill Fish along for the ride They swim valiantly against The churning waves Desperate to go upriver But forced into the slide The water is pale gray As it carries silt and sand Through … Continue reading The River