Story Go Round 12/09/2006, round 2, #3

Yet Another Christmas Eve in the Airport

(pre-titled by Amber)

My flight was late leaving Denver, we got stalled on the runway when the wings iced over, and made it there just in time to miss my connecting flight. I watched it take off, and despaired. I would not make the convention of Scrooge Admirers. I would not make it despite having organized it for the last 4 years, giving up my seats to cheery but desperate relatives trying to make it for gifts - happily, I say, as I collected my free tickets from the airlines. But I was in the airport again, and desperate now myself. It stank.

At least there aren't any ... - never mind, four screaming and unruly children just arrived. Here came two mothers with younglings suckling and I'm sure there will be even more high-pitched squeals on the way. Cuteness only gets them so far - and that's where my nightmare begins.

I went to the counter to demand assistance . They had gone from running and playing shrieking and screaming, to picking on me. But only when no one else was looking. It was quite a feat, and I suspected something supernatural or fictional was at work here. But the airline employees offered no assistance or even sympathy.

Where was Counsellor Troi when you needed her? I thought. I was fast approaching the belief that every airport should be fortified and equipped as a standalone city, ready to hold out as small niches of civilization when the apocalypse hit. Which, given the state of today children as exemplified by the 4 hands tugging at my pants, could not be too far off. I wanted a professional, $80 an hour shoulder to cry on. And to yell at. I wanted to whack some moles.

"I want to see your supervisor," I told the muss-haired clerk.

"Tonight, lady, that'd be God. You wanna talk to him, be my guest."

As I turned back to survey the situation, I noticed two things right away: Scott Bakula was calmly sipping coffee and reading The Enquirer in the corner, oblivious to the hell-raising children, and secondly that a portly, white-haired and bearded gentleman in a red suit was being handcuffed by the TSA. Scott Bakula? I thought. It couldn't be - where were the throngs of admirers? Aren't celebrities supposed to never be able to go out in public without being harassed? This too was quite a tale no one would ever believe.

As they hauled the older guy off, his path crossed mine on the way to the loo. He was giving me the eye, but not a leering one, a secret cry for help. In that moment I saw him as he wanted to be seen - a jovial Father Christmas figure to the world of hopeful wonder.

Then the moment passed and he was just a guy. A dark-skinned guy whose hair would be darker were he younger, black eyes and tell-tale features currently unpopular inthese settings. And he needed my help to get free!

About that time the real miracle happened: A morbidly obese man touched the dark-skinned "Santa" and everything changed. 1500 midgets in green poured into the terminal, followed by a guy in a white sequin-and-rhinestone studded jumpsuit. Three older, gray-haired men joined the procession as the theme song to "The Benny Hill Show" began blaring over the airport loudspeakers.