If ever find yourself trapped in a city late at night with nothing to do, nowhere to go, no way to get anywhere and in the airport, you have an opportunity to have a truly amazing experience.
For those who think this about to make you hot and bothered, you are perverse. I am talking about sitting down and simply taking notice of the different types of people who are in an airport at 2:27 A.M.
First thing I noticed is the guy next to me who is also on his laptop looking at Facebook. He seems normal enough, but do I have any idea who he might be? Of course not. He does, however, have a cup of coffee and a Dunkin’ Donuts bag, so it is tempting to try to strike up conversation if for no other reason than I am exhausted. I take the plunge, and learn he speaks as much English as I speak Ukrainian. Is this failure? No—it is all in good fun.
Feeling discouraged, I try to just take notice of the people who are aimlessly walking with no apparent direction or reason as to why they are walking. I take notice first of the teenage couple who passes by about every ten minutes. They are awkwardly holding hands, and based on the religious tee shirt the girl is wearing, I figure they probably have not done much more than that. Do I know for sure? No. But this sort of snap judgement gives me a wonderful, and not very destructive, way to profile people, something that other people get to do in an airport and I feel left out of.
Next comes the awkward airport police guy, who is also overly bored and desperate for conversation. He tries to make small talk about how weird it is for it to be 40 degrees in Miami even though it is January. Of course he asks where I am from, and Atlanta apparently is not that interesting to him, because he stopped our chat right then.
I also got the pleasure of making enemies with some people while I was there. The cleaning crew was out in fury, and I of course was in the way. I thought I should move, but then decided that would have been more awkward, because I would have to pack up my stuff, move somewhere else and there would be that really awkward two seconds when I would have had to walk around their cleaning cart, no doubt making that strange eye contact without any acknowledgement. So I stayed put.
With 3:00 came the people starting the early shift. There was the bell hop, or whatever they are called at an airport, wearing his seemingly too formal attire. It was like a white tuxedo with too many buttons, and he even had to wear that stupid looking hat. Does anyone really care if the person carting their luggage around is wearing a hat? I certainly do not. And if someone does, aren’t they probably just really big jerks anyway and should not be appeased? I think they should lose the hats.
The guy driving what looks to be a remodeled golf cart towing behind him those rental push carts came by. He was wearing a ski mask, and that freaked me out a little bit. I know I should not have been, after all the po-po and I are now the next closest thing to brothers, but that is the beauty of it all; rationalization is futile at 3 a.m.. I then noticed the first person in a real suit, and he was carrying a cup of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. Then two more people walked by also carrying cups of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. I decide that it is now late enough for breakfast.
I pack up my things to leave, noticing more people with the liquid goodness known as caffeine. As I begin to make my escapade in search of my holy grail, I fell victim to that which I tried to avoid not less than thirty minutes prior. I ran into the cleaning crew, and of course there was the strange eye contact and no acknowledgment. I know they will forever hate me, but I have come to accept that.
After walking what seemed to be miles upon miles to this oasis, I realized I did not know how to order my coffee, because I had never had coffee from Miami. In Atlanta, coffee is generally pretty moderate; not watery, nor super heavy. But in New Jersey and New York, it is like an unhappy cross between crude oil and burnt tar. I decided to order like I do normally. It turned out alright, a little light though.
It was then time for me to board my flight and head on home. I realize that in one night I learned a lot about myself. I cannot speak Ukrainian, nor do I come from a very interesting place. I also learned that I generalize too much and that coffee in Miami is generally a little too weak. A very productive two hours.