The Large Man Chronicles
An Evening in Charlotte International Airport
If you take the time to look, nothing special can become very special. If you look really hard, nothing special can become downright noteworthy…or blog worthy. (Damn! At least I hope so)
I am at the end of a 3 hour layover in Charlotte, on my way to Dallas/Fort Worth for a week of revenue generating activity. It is 8:00 PM and frankly none of these details are special: I do something like this just about every week. But at the same time, if you take a few minutes to really look, these are the things you might see from a gray upholstered chair at gate B3:
- A rather tall and striking woman sitting straight across from me in a dark gray business suit…working what looks to be 2 Blackberries and a laptop: its friggin 8:00 PM! I hope she is not a valve & fitting sales person, or a blogger trying to get published. I can’t compete with that kind of work ethic. She seems uncomfortable with my gaze; she must see only my steel-blue eyes and none of the human complexities that lie behind them… so I move on.
- Two seats down from the gray suited worker bee is another striking woman…but in a different way. She is sort of short and a little more round in her features, she is in black stretchy pants that are too tight. The spandex is SCREAMING for mercy… this pretty woman is not too big; her clothes are just too tight. Her hair is dyed jet black, and it stops just at the shoulders of a perfectly matching black stretchy top. The black top is …revealing. Let’s call it low slung. Displayed within the frame offered by this low slung top is a very large, very colorful tattoo of the sun rising in flames from her bosoms. I guess it could be setting in flames into her bosoms; I’m trying to discreetly figure it out. No matter what the sun is doing now, in about 15 years it’s gonna look like a golden pond in the middle of a burning swamp. You should think about that shit before you invest all that time and money into inking up such prominent body parts. She seems annoyed that I’m staring at her chest.
- There is a badass, true Texas cowboy sitting right next to me…starched and creased Wranglers, real boots with the wear of work on them, lines on his face tell a story…tough guy. The tough guy is on his cell phone saying something in a soft voice…daughter or granddaughter is my guess. He hangs up just after, “okay, I love you sweetheart” in a drawl that makes me think west Texas. Now he’s helping the family next to him wrangle their toddler, because they are 2 hands short. I would help, but somebody has to type out the story. This guy is cool, and is completely comfortable if you are staring or not. He’s a tough guy, but he’s a gentleman. I think I would like this dude, but he might not like me. I might be a little talkative for him. I won’t give him my card.
- Nestled next to the lady with the sunny bosoms is an art student. I have no proof, but I know I’m right. Same jet black dyed hair, with a streak of purple. She is sporting a tattoo of her own: left shoulder… a spider web with a black widow at 5 o-clock on the web. She’s protecting several shipping tubes from the rambunctious kids that Tex just gave up on. I think I like this girl. She responds to my smile with a smile of her own, so, unlike the worker bee, I’m thinking she has a sixth sense when it comes to men who are noble in their character.
- Now just walking up is a polar opposite of the girls in black; and distinctively different from worker bee too. Strawberry blonde hair that could use a little brushing…windblown & outdoorsy. She has a very tight Texas Longhorns tee-shirt on top of a very tight pair of jeans on top of a very tight (as in appropriately cool) pair of cowboy boots. Her tight, is not like Ms. Sunrise’s tight… her tight is like ain’t no one complainin’ tight. I have no idea what her story might be, but she just got Tex’ attention too. Let’s call her Longhorn. Tex hops up from his place next to me and offers his chair…gentlemanly as it is, it’s a dumbass move because now she’s sitting next to me. You don’t want the hottest chick in B3 sitting next to me…game over.
This is a rare treat! Usually only smelly fishing bait sales people, or someone with a cold will sit next to me. She has a sweet smell. Not like a perfume, but maybe a nice suntan lotion. Every guy in gate B3 is staring at her, and envying the shit eating grin on my face. I would have offered her my seat, but again, someone has to tell the story. She has a very friendly and easy aura all around her. Not easy as in slutty, easy as in relaxed. Easy as in… if there was no wine left at the party, she would just say “I’ll have a beer”. Then she would just kinda toss her hair over her shoulder with a smile as she walked away and looked back at you as she said “Thanks”. That move gets me every time! The tossing hair over the shoulder with a smile of gratitude while settling for a beer when you really wanted a glass of wine move. My wife landed me with that move. I think they teach it at finishing schools or something.
- As we are all sitting (in Tex’ case standing…dumb ass) waiting for our plane to arrive, I notice a couple of pilots that I had seen having dinner earlier. They are now standing at the doorway to gate B3. Nothing special about that other than I remember thinking these guys looked to be in bad shape – not common for most pilots that I see. THEN, I remembered what I thought while I was watching these guys eat: “Now there’s a couple of heart attacks waiting to happen!” I had a private chuckle over this as I watched them down their Texas sized plate of North Carolina BBQ, hush puppies, slaw, fries, pecan pie, and a 55 gallon drum of sweet tea. I currently find this much less chuckle worthy as I think about them flying me to DFW for the next 2 hours and 35 minutes. This “not so special flight” is now becoming an adventure…and not in a good way. I like Disney World and white water rafting. I hate it when I have to take over the plane when the pilot and co-pilot are having coronaries. I’ve done it like 3 or 4 times*, and it really sucks.
I look back at “Sunrise” and she is still giving me the stink-eye. What the hell? If there wasn’t a family in the general vicinity I would challenge her on her aggressive posture towards me. Sunrise and I have a policy conflict. As a general rule, I will discreetly take a gander at a woman’s more striking features; it is part of being an American male…a civic duty if you will. Paint certain features up with an orange, red, and neon yellow fiery sunrise and the same policy applies, just remove the discreetly part. Frankly I’m a little hurt…if Tex were participating in the activity would she be as angry? I’m not even staring in lust, okay… maybe a little bit, mostly it’s just curiosity.
Oh it gets better…
So, they call zone 1 to board the plane, I am shutting down my remote office, I pack up my laptop, and as I walk by the row of chairs in front of me, Ms. Sunrise says, “I hope you enjoyed the show little man”.
Huh? Excuse me? WHAT? Little man? (Obviously she’s not on Facebook) She makes this statement in a very passive aggressive voice. Loud enough that I could hear something, but not loud enough for me to be sure of what I heard…or so she thought. Because I lost my sense of responsibility at an early age, all of my other senses are more finely tuned and acute. I have the hearing of a whale, better than a guinea pig…better than a wife in the next room at a party when you are planning a fishing trip with the guys. I heard her just fine.
I want to respond…I (now) want to ask some questions. Why? You are a beautiful woman, why the ink? But if the ink is your thing, bless you, you have every right. I love expressive people. But when your posture and presentation says, “look at me”…don’t get mad when I do.
But I say nothing. I’m not in a confrontational mood, and what if she kicked my ass in front of everybody? Well let’s just say as good a story as that might be; it’s a Large Man Chronicle that I just don’t want to write. Getting my ass kicked in front of the Longhorn girl would be something you could never get over. If you roll through the 3 levels of humiliation on The Large Man Humiliation Scale, it doesn’t get any worse.
- Level 1 humiliation…any ass kickin.
- Level 2 humiliation…ass kicked by a girl.
- Level 3 humiliation…ass kicked by a girl in front of a bunch of women, children, overweight airline personnel, real cowboys, and hot chicks that smell like suntan lotion.
…this can’t happen. So I withhold a retort. I really don’t want to create bad vibes for myself or anyone…I’m going New Testament, and turning the other cheek. This is better for everybody.
So as I swallow the urge to engage the angry exhibitionist, I refocus on the pilots. Where are they? Are they really our pilots or are they just hitching a ride? I find them at the end of the jet-way…the answers are very clear. They are here, and they are taking me to Texas. My panic reflex starts to wiggle, throat tightens a little bit, that “need to pee” feeling starts to take over the lower half of my body. White knuckle grip on the brief case as I walk onto the plane. Because of a lot of miles flown, at least I’ll go down with the ship in first class. Just don’t lose it in front of everybody, I think to myself as I stow my briefcase and settle into the soft roomy seat. Maybe Longhorn is flying first class? My mood begins to improve with that thought, just as I start to get a little excited about that notion (and the fact that the seat next to me is empty), I look up to see Tex walking onto the plane with her right behind. HE takes the aisle seat next to me after he turns to her and says, “Nice to meet you, I guess I’ll see you when we get on the ground. I’d offer you this seat too, but the flight attendant said I couldn’t”.
She just walked past and smiled back at him as she tossed her hair over her shoulder and said, “Thanks, I like the window seat anyway. I look forward to that beer when we get home”.
Damn!!…maybe I should have offered my chair. I could have chronicled this later! Probably would’ve been a better story! Oh well…at least now I can include my wife on the distribution list.
We made it safely to DFW, no coronaries, no conflicts, maybe a love connection after we hit the ground. I didn’t see Tex, Longhorn, Sunrise, or the art student in baggage claim. I did see the worker bee…cell phone in her ear…making it happen.
If you just take the time to look, nothing special becomes something.
As always, thank you for reading.
The Large Man
*ok that was bullshit. I’ve never really taken over a plane for a pilot that had a coronary. But I would if called upon.