Saturday, February 17, 2007

Traveler note - Valentine's Day

I'm sitting in Chicago O'Hare, waiting for a perpetually delayed flight to bring me home from sunny Southern California to upstate NY in the midst of a blizzard.

I moved from a seat near my gate to a spot on the floor near a power outlet for my laptop, with its miserably short battery life. The spot I chose happened to be exactly where someone spilled coffee earlier and my rear is now soaked. I don't look forward to getting up.

A couple passes in the busy corridor. I notice them because she appears to hang off his arm, while he pulls a rolling bag and awkwardly holds a ripped shopping bag. I wonder why she isn't helping him handle their stuff. Hardly have I noticed them, when she tugs his arm, moves in front of him, and knocks off his hat. Their words don't seem too heated. She speaks emotionally, but not loudly. He says little and tries to escape. He veers one way and then another. She pulls at the rollerbag handle, kicks it around, tries to stop him from escaping her hard words. He ducks and shuffles. I catch "incestuous" repeated a couple of times and wonder if I'm letting my imagination make their story more interesting, or if it's simply far beyond my definition of normal. He moves a small distance and sits against the billboard ads on the wall. She sits next to him. A few minutes later, he gets up and walks out of view. She stays. He returns, pacing back and forth, avoiding her, but not willing to lose her in the crowded, weather-delayed terminal. He moves across to a seat on my side of the corridor, she gets up and sits next to him. He then gets up, walks towards me, apparently checking some gate info, then walks out of sight. Time passes. She still sits alone. The shopping bag is no longer discarded on the floor, she must have retrieved it, but as she scoots down to lay across the row of seats, she seems resigned that he isn't coming back soon. When I finally get up to return to my gate (after checking my pants for coffee), she's still there.

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