Tag Archives: airport

We Don’t Prepare For Disaster

"The Falling Man." 9/11/01

“The Falling Man.” 9/11/01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I work in an airport, Thursday didn’t surround me with many reminders of what day it was. Maybe most feel uncomfortable mentioning it while dozens of planes fly down the runway in front of them. Should we go on as if nothing is out of place?

I lay on my couch yesterday evening, watching YouTube videos of live footage from September 11, 2001. It’s strange, how sometimes we want to hurt; we throw ourselves into the carnage and wait for the tears to come. Sometimes it helps to remember, to let our hearts break all over again. So that’s what I did. I watched the most painful videos I could find, and I made myself hurt at an age where I could comprehend. I was only thirteen then, and that day was a blur of 9AM gym class and wondering why we were sent home early.

In the midst of my search I came across The Falling Man. We’re all familiar with one of the most disturbing details of that day – the thought that it was so bad up there, so hopeless, that dozens found another way “out”. I pressed play and watched this stranger tumble from a window. An interview with someone who had seen the video said it wasn’t a serene fall. He rolled several times, he propelled his arms and legs; the wind pulled off his button-up, revealing an orange t-shirt underneath. Someone’s son, someone’s friend, perhaps someone’s father.

When I look at the photograph above I ask myself unexpected questions. The shoes he’s wearing – where did he buy them? Were they new? I wonder what it felt like, suspended in air on a September morning, free falling down the side of the World Trade Center instead of sipping on coffee or watching the news.

When we tuck ourselves into bed at night we don’t prepare for disaster. We lay out our clothes or drink a glass of wine and pray for Friday to come fast. But sometimes we have to choose whether jumping or turning to dust is best for us.

For me, The Falling Man is the purest symbol of one of the most tragic occurrences in American history. This stranger reminds us never to go to sleep angry. Kiss our loved ones. Eat well and drink well. Never take a single day for granted. Tomorrow may hold one of the hardest decisions we’ll ever have to make.

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A Small Lesson In Gratefulness

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“I’m really a nice person,” he said. “I’m just nervous.” I wrinkled my forehead. “Nervous about what?” I asked. “I’m on my way back home to Florida and they’re on a hurricane watch.” I threw him a smile. “If things aren’t looking good, they won’t allow your flight to leave,” I said. I honestly didn’t know much, but I was just hoping to make him feel better. It made me feel a little warm inside when I saw genuine relief come over his face. “I guess you’re right.”

“And I haven’t felt like myself lately,” he went on. “I just recently lost my wife of 34 years to cancer.” He looked up at me and I saw a nothingness in his eyes. Pure helplessness, complete loss. “I – I’m so sorry.” That was all I could muster. What does one say in situations like these? “I understand”? Because we don’t. We don’t understand. Not at all.

His soup came and awkwardly I continued to make drinks as he took small spoonfuls. After he’d finished he asked for the bill, and it’d left my tongue before I could stop it; “Don’t worry about it,” I said.

“No.” It was a stern no, like my father used to say when I was small and misbehaving, or the no I tell the dog when she’s begging at dinner time. I put my elbows on the bar. “I don’t pity you,” I said. “No one wants that. I’m not doing that here. I just want to do something for you. It’s measly, but it’s something. Because I am so sorry about what you went through.” And that’s when my eyeballs almost dropped a few extra ingredients into the Long Islands I was mixing.

When I put his drink on the bar I thought he had the typical attitude problem, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. My eyes opened wide on a Thursday morning, and I hugged my blessings a little tighter that day because of it.

xoxo

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IMHO

So I bought this sweet journal today.

Of course I was drawn to the cover. I have many opinions. So many, many opinions.

I was creepin’ around the mall, specifically for a new nose ring since the little tiny ball on the end of my hoop fell out while I was sleeping. I’m convinced it’s in my brain now; I cannot find this damn thing anywhere. So I found the nose ring and some other jewelry (of course), and wandered into another store where I purchased this gem.

Each freshly lined page is flanked with a quote. Here’s one of my favorites:

“What can we know? What are we all? Poor silly half-brained things peering out at the infinite, with the aspirations of angels and the instincts of beasts.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

I’d love if I could get this printed on the back of a tee-shirt and wear it to work every day. Every blank page is encouragement not just to vent, but to make that day’s “definitive conclusion about humanity” (four boxes with four different pictures below them: thumbs up, peace sign, thumbs down, middle finger). I scrawled a few paragraphs down and quickly checked the “middle finger” box. The top of each page reads like this: “WHY PEOPLE ARE LIKE THAT TODAY:”. I won’t share my writings in detail (they aren’t so nice) but I will share my conclusion:

“People suck. Hell is d-bag customers, morons who act like they’ve never been in public before. ‘People are like that today’ to piss me off.”

Don’t worry, the vino has put me back in my happy place. All hostile-ness aside, this journal is probably a good thing. I’ll jot down what annoys me and attempt to turn it around. Why is that person the way they are? Maybe something happened. Who knows what they’re going through? I don’t know them, they don’t know me. Maybe that woman cut me off because her husband is in the hospital and she’s just trying to get to him faster. Does it make it okay? Maybe not, but it might make me feel better to consider this. I’m still working on deciding why customers flail their hands and demand drinks ahead of others because they have a “plane to catch” in an airport, or why they answer my “how are you” with “HEINEKEN”. No really, I’m smiling right now.

Anyway, I suggest this thing to anyone. Let’s try to channel our anger and turn it into something positive. Plus it gives us some awesome blogging material, right?

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r-e-s-p-e-c-t

I found this fitting.

I found this fitting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As most of you know by now, I work in an airport. More specifically, I tend bar in an airport. My theory is that once the majority of passengers make it through security, they leave a few brain cells back there on the conveyor belt. We see a variety of people pass through our restaurant; some are pleasant (I’ve met some awesome people doing what I do), some are morons, some are rude, and some see that invisible line and hop, skip and jump right over it. I’m talking zero regard or respect for others. They think they can do or say whatever they please. I don’t take kindly to that. 

More specifically – and the inspiration for today’s post – I do not take kindly to grown men who act like scumbags, and/or talk disrespectfully to women. The first thing that comes to mind when I see or experience this: How would you feel if someone talked to your daughter like that? Secondly: How about your wife? Thirdly: Do you even have a wife? I sure hope not. And here, for your personal anger and entertainment, is a prime example.

Saturday night. We’re about an hour into our 8-9 hour shift, the other 2 lady bartenders and I. Things are going smoothly – thank goodness – and a man approaches my bar. I greet him with a menu and he asks for 2 more, as he has 2 friends who will be joining him. Sure thing. I drop another 2 menus on the bar. I knew his friends had arrived when I heard someone yell a greeting across the restaurant, as if they were outdoors or in their own living room. The table I’d been dropping food off to looked up, startled. I gave them an awkward smile and turned to watch the three men greet each other. I approached the bar and took their drink order. Easy enough. I grabbed 3 beers and placed them on the bar. Then things got busy.

When things pick up one of the other bartenders will usually take that little sliver of bar where the three men were sitting. This particular bartender is extremely friendly, even when people are acting like douche-bags. As I was standing at the front of the restaurant, she approached me and gave me their food order, mentioning something about not wanting to deal with them anymore.

“What happened?” I asked.

“They were talking about wanting to buy a t-shirt, then said they wanted my shirt, like, off of my back.”

I could feel my blood starting to simmer. “What?? They said they wanted your shirt?”

They implied they wanted her to take off her shirt. She told them that was inappropriate, and the ringleader replied with “Sorry if I offended you.”

Now my blood was boiling.

As calmly as I could, I approached the three men. At this point I wasn’t sure of who said what, since apparently they were all involved, so I did it like this:

“Listen, whichever one of you made an inappropriate comment to the other bartender, don’t let it happen again. She was extremely offended and we can kick you out for things like that.” Of course they scrambled to defend themselves, mumbling about just wanting to buy a shirt, blah, blah, blah. A women and her husband next to them stepped in, claiming they did nothing wrong. I then said if that is the case then I am the one who is sorry, but please be careful how you word things. I was looking out for one of my own. “I totally understand,” the woman said. Case closed, right? Of course not.

I continued to take care of the men, a few more minutes went by, then the ringleader spoke again. “Excuse me, are you the bartender?”

“No, I’m not.”

“Then why did you come over here giving us shit?

“You offended one of my bartenders, sir. Then I even made an apology to you saying if you didn’t mean anything by it, that’s fine, but to please watch how you word things.”

He then asked for my manager, complained, tried to get him to take care of the bill. No, no, and no. My manager said once he was close to the man it looked like he’d been drinking before he arrived at our bar. I hadn’t noticed anything more than his stupidity. More time passed,  blah, blah, blah, he rudely asked me if he could pay. “Sure!” I said. Good, get the hell out. Of course I wasn’t expecting a tip after his experience.

But what I really wasn’t expecting was the word “Bitch” to be sloppily scrawled where a tip would normally be. He left before I even had time to see it. Coward. His friends stayed though, and after the ringleader was gone they were all “please” and “thank you” and “yes ma’am”.

I believe in karma, scumbag. And it will come for you. I also believe in standing up for yourself, defending yourself or others you care for. And if that warrants me a bitch, then so be it.

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Rant-tastic Monday!

Le sigh. While Mondays are normally my day off, I’ll be picking up a shift this afternoon; and what better way to begin the day but with blowing off some steam from the weekend!

Joe always says, “I think when people enter an airport, they lose half their brain cells”.

I think I agree. Yes….yes, I do agree.

The airport brings with it a whole new kind of rude. I’ve worked in a corporate owned steakhouse, a ’50s themed diner, an Italian restaurant…how could serving cheese steaks and fries leave something even more for people to complain about? Well, they certainly find a way.

A quick recount of my fantastic, stress-free weekend:

Customer: “Can I have a Manhattan, on the rocks? Make it a double.”

Me: “Sure!” ::makes drink in front of man, tips measured pour spout twice::

Customer: ::five minutes later:: “Um..is this a double?” ::twists face as if smelling something foul::

Me: “Yes, it is, everything is measured.”

~ What else do I say to this? Yes, it’s a double. Want a third shot? You’re paying for it! He just went back to his drink. This wasn’t rude, just sorta dumb.

A customer a fellow bartender had last weekend:

Bartender: “Hello! How are yo-

Customer: “Yeah yeah yeah, cut the small talk, do you have…” blah blah blah

And another one of mine:

::I’m washing dishes::

Customer: “Ma’am? Hello?”

::I turn around to find him knocking on the bar in my direction. This was his way of getting my attention.::

And now on to the theme of the weekend (and a scene from last week’s crowd).

~ On Saturday night I had two minutes of down time to get some glasses washed behind my bar, after checking that everyone was alright to be left alone for 30 seconds. When I had made it to the last two pilsners, my peripheral vision gave way to something waving around frantically to my left. I slowly looked over and saw the woman at the far end of my bar – who had asked for a drink by handing me a piece of paper with “Grand Marnier” scribbled on it – throwing her hands in the air as if trying to catch my attention stranded-on-a-desert-island style. When she saw me looking her way, she brought one hand down and curled one long finger on the other in a I’m-your-mother-get-your-ass-over-here-because-you’re-in-trouble style. I don’t take kindly to that. I made my way over.

Customer: “I was trying to get your attention.”

Me: “I know, but you do not have to do this ::makes get-over-here motion:: to do so.”

Customer: “I want to pay.” ::pays:: ::leaves::

Me: “Have a great day!”

::no tip::

::whatever::

About ten minutes later I had a couple do the same crazy waving arm thing. I ran over thinking someone may have needed an ambulance. They only needed two Bud Lights.

~ Last week a table of two polite older gentlemen and their wives sat with me, and everything went smoothly. When he was ready to pay the bill, I saw him doing the arm jiggle as I made my way to their table, check already in hand because I knew they’d be close to finishing up. “I see you!” I said, as he continued to do the dance after we’d made eye contact. He mumbled something like “we have a flight to catch” (never would have guessed) as I put the check in front of him and leaned over to give the table next to them their –

“NO! DON’T GO ANYWHERE!!!!!! I’M READY TO PAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY………”

“Sir, I was just leaning over to table 2 here to give them their check as well. I have not moved from this spot.”

Happy. Monday.

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