I do love picking people up at the airport but every time I go, I give thanks for the fact that Peggy and I don't travel far enough to need to be leaving on a jet plane.
I was walking around BWI - Marshall Airport the other day and it was like when you see one of those bees-under-glass things at honey shops (we have plenty of them!). If you're not actively engaged in going to Santa Fe to see your cousins or you're not jetting off to a vacation in the Great Dismal Swamp or winging it to Allentown to meet the Gurneys and a dozen gray attorneys, you're kind of in the way. All the purposeful, resolute people regard you as an interloper and play Dodg-'Em with their Suitcases On Wheels as you stand like a cigar store Indian and watch the hurly burly hurl right on by. They all have wrinkled brows and firm unsmiling mouths. And wheeled luggage.
And talk about a captive marketing experience...I chanced to pick up an umbrella for sale at a newsstand. Don't worry about it if you're coming to Baltimore for the rainy season. Before you even leave the baggage claim area, you'll have the chance to buy yourself an umbrella, just like the ones back home at SmartMart that you can get for $3.95. You'll pay $24.95 at the airport, but at least they won't hit you for $25. Antihistamines, cough drops, air sickness pills and pain relievers, same deal. Just a little higher in price, is all.
Oh! And I was looking for directions to the American Airlines terminal, so I ankled up to a TSA agent and said, "May I ask you a question...?" And she said, "No! Psych! Go ahead, what is it?"
I should have said "Does this bomb I have in my underwear make me look terrorist-y? Psych!" but these people are not noted for their senses of humor. Although the maintenance man walking by got a laugh at her "joke."
Speaking of maintenance men...are they ever going to FINISH this airport? Every ten feet there was construction, deconstruction or reconstruction in progress. Baggage-go-round #9, which was supposed to be bringing out the checked luggage on my friend's flight was occupied by a beefy repairman, who was sprawled upon it, going over a schematic diagram with a yellow hi-liter. Their belongings were to be shooting down chute #7 instead.
One final thought. If you're looking for work and you want the kind of job that requires standing behind a counter, staring at the middle distance with a sort of blank countenance, get right on down to the airport at once. They have dozens of people doing just that, and some of them seemed very tired.
It was fun to go meet my friend and drive away from the airport. I just hope never to fly away from the airport.