I don’t remember feeling paranoid when I used to go to the airport.
The rules of the airport have changed since I was a kid.
It used to be drive there, maybe slow down the car on your way in, park and walk them to the gate, a quick kiss (Or wave, be repressed if all you like) and head back to the car.
Not how it is now.
A half mile away from the airport, stop and go traffic begins.
And this is LA “Fuck you” kind of traffic.
This is throat punch road rage country, people.
After 15 minutes spent travelling a distance that I could have walked in 5, I am stop and go rolling down the ramp onto the approach to departures.
It is at this moment that you realize that LA is the only major airport in the US that does not have easy commuter train access to the airport and it shows.
But at least the Los Angeles City Council has 24/7 limo service, I am glad that we could make that happen.
At the bottom of the approach ramp is a checkpoint manned by 3 commandos in bullet-proof vests, AR-15’s and beer bellies.
We are safe as long as the threat is not a 100 yard run away, because the boys do not look like they are up for it.
I keep my hands on the wheel and smile, trying to look as non-terroristy as possible.
I look very IRA but not very Jihady, so I am waved thru Checkpoint Charley.
Stop and Go looked wildly free-flowing compared to this molasses inspired flow.
5 minutes later we have rolled another 100 yards and I am at my terminal.
I feel bad for my ride, it must have taken another hour to get out of the airport.
The airport is a shambles and you wonder if the cleaning staff is on strike.
Like the corporate version of “Barter Town” from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome everything seems official, but dirty and shoddily done.
The only ray of sunshine is the automatic ticket kiosks.
Slot the credit card you over-paid online with and your ticket is printed out without the joy of waiting in line with pissed off travellers to finally deal with the plastic talking head at the airline counter.
I say plastic because I meant plastic.
I have felt more warmth from the Jack in the Box Clown before they blew him up in the 80’s.
I stood on the fringe for a moment and watched one particular “Customer Assistance Team Member” at the counter.
She took resting bitch face to a new level and had a habit of not looking at people as she spoke and speaking as she noisily exhaled.
The only smile I saw what when a bag weighed more than 50lbs.
Her face lite up like Christmas come early.
“I’m sorry, your bag is over-weight.”
This was delivered like Pennywise from the Stephen King movie “IT”.
And was every bit as chilling.
The modern day cattle line has a new twist.
Every now and then, the TSA agent will pick a few people at random to go thru the “Easy” line.
This is the line where you can keep your shoes on and they don’t xray you.
I am one of the few that does not hate TSA.
Mainly because I have flown thru privatized airport security and its the same.
9/11 is the problem, not TSA.
The line goes quickly, mainly because I was capturing Pokemon the whole time and I hatched an egg. (Sure, I am the only one doing it.)
Once I got thru the xray, explained the oddities that you cannot recognize by shadows in my bag and got my shoes back on, I now have an hour to kill because it went too fast.
And then, I see it.
My faith in the Almighty is reborn.
Java is my God and I am its prophet.
(PS – You get extra points if you got the title.)