Denver airport, Gate B94. 8:43 a.m.
The area is filling in for flights to Midland, TX, Little Rock, AR, Colorado Springs, CO, and Huntsville, AL. A baby cries in the midst of the general chatter. Two men are laughing louder than the most of the sleepy travelers are interesting in hearing. My youngest eats a giant cinnamon roll to my left while my wife drinks something from Starbucks on my right. My oldest is looking at pictures on his phone.
A group of students just came in from Gate B93. Weird haircuts with hard parts and pony-tail type things in strange places on their heads. Maybe brain surgery patients, or maybe just more hip than I comprehend.
The strangers behind me have started up a lively conversation about something they have found in common. I wish they would move or shut up.
Some passengers apparently try to look their best for traveling, and some wear pajamas. It’s like the worlds of Wal-Mart, Target, and Neiman Marcus are all clashing in this terminal.
The man laughs again, without regard to the people around him. I don’t think the mantra “dance like no one is watching” applies to laughing, and if so, certainly not in the morning in airport terminals.
Young families are all around. Kids look confused; parents look determined, teenagers look oblivious, and elderlies look weary. A older middle aged woman stands 10 feet in front of me with black leggings, a neon orange t-shirt, and a white quilted jacket. She sports a patent leather green bag, and she seems to be waiting for someone to arrive from Gate B95. She smiles broadly when an unshaven older man arrives with jeans and a baseball cap emblazoned with the name of a navy ship. With no verbal greeting, so much as smiles, they stroll away together.
The smell of sausage and egg biscuit now replaces the aroma of my son’s cinnamon roll, carried in by the cool exterior air from the breezeway door.
The people behind me continue their conversation without so much as a pause to think about what to say next.
A large, top heavy woman in a flowing tie dyed shirt, jeans, and socks with Birkenstock sandals makes a few circles like a dog before she settles into a seat.
A lumberjack-built woman comes in from gate B95. She works here, apparently as a baggage handler. Her calves are solid muscle, the size of my waist. Her hair is pulled straight back and her face is tanned dark, except for where her sunglasses usually are, which is a pasty white.
Now taking a shift standing in the space directly in front of me is a dude wearing a camo baseball cap and a military backpack, as well as a couple with designer-looking carry-ons and ripped jeans, jackets, and sandals with no socks (as it should be.)
Passengers waiting for a flight to Springfield just found out their Gate has changed. A small exodus occurs, making room for me to see a little girl, maybe 4 years old, holding Daddy’s hand as they wander through, him in his jeans and t-shirt and her in animal print pink footy pajamas. She has a clear case of bed head and a look of wonder at all the strangers.
A red headed girl – 10 years old maybe – strolls up with her mom. The girl carries a Space Camp back pack and is on her way to Huntsville.
The guy with the ripped jeans and sandals rubs his wife’s back and she playfully jabs him in the ribs. He puts his hands in his pocket, chews his gum, and the people behind me haven’t slowed their conversation a bit. Amazing.
The terminal is becoming crowded now, as maybe four flights are about to leave within 15 minutes of one another. Someone just joined the conversation behind me, raising the southern accent factor dramatically.
At this point, those of us who are seated are fortunate. Space Camp girl and mom are swaying together to pass the time and a small oriental man with his Starbucks cup slumps into a seat between a black woman and muscular white guy bent over his smart phone.
More additions to the conversation behind me. A hispanic guy now, as a traditionally African dressed woman checks the gate monitor.
Space Camp girl has stitches on her left cheek and above her left eye and her hair held back in a pony tail with a gold clasp. She reminds me of a tomboy I used to call “cheeto-head.”
A tough guy with a brown leather jacket and cowboy boots now stands before me, looking out into the distance through his heavy framed glasses. He removes them, puts them into a pocket and stands waiting, surveying the people around him as he keeps his hands on the handle of his carry-on. His hair is mid length and disheveled, his plaid shirt is untucked, hanging from below the jacket, and his mustache is longer than his goatee. He saunters away to board the plane to Colorado Springs.
A lady sits on her feet on the floor to my right, guarding her bright yellow purse but blocking the aisle, until a guy pushing an empty wheel chair needs to pass through, at which point she politely moves.
The crowd dissipates a little as the Huntsville plane, along with the Colorado Springs plane, begins to board.
Beats by Dre’ headphones are quite popular, apparently.
Time for us to board. Homeward bound.