1. The Story of the Very Salty Woman
All I wanted was a vacation. A simple vacation was all I wanted. My husband even offered to watch the little ones and take them to their soccer games while I took a long relaxing vacation in the Bahamas. I wanted this to go perfectly; I even gave the Salivation (or is it Salvation?) Army Santa a few pennies. It was annoyingly busy inside the airport but I sucked in a deep breath and did not lose my temper. I received my ticket and got in line for the baggage check. I didn’t even worry if I wasn't going to be allowed through; after all I wasn’t carrying a weapon or drugs. But the powers that be decided I was carrying too much perfume.
“How, on earth, can I be carrying too much perfume?! It was only 10 bottles! They’re my favorite kind! They relax me!” I shouted at the security officer. He barely flinched when I yelled; people normally flinch when I yell. I don't like this man. I liked him less when he told me that my bags would have to be confiscated and further examined and that I would have to follow him. I almost refused to move when I remembered that I am supposed to be enjoying this vacation. It's just a simple misunderstanding and they’ll let me back on my flight soon. Not a big deal. The security man led me through a set of big heavy looking doors and down a white hallway. He stopped at a grey door and held it open for me. He shut the door on me after I walked in. Isolation, great, are they going to try and break me now?
“It's just perfume,” I shouted into the room. I took another deep breath and took in the sight of the room. A row of hospital-waiting-room chairs lined the left wall with a small metal end table in each corner. Other than that the room was void of any other furniture or decoration. I slumped into a chair and tried to control my anger. As if the airport security believed that I needed another stimulant to make my blood pressure rise and to really get me angry they threw an unconscious man into the room as well. I HATE my luck.
I avoided looking at the smelly man and turned my attention to a box of tissues sitting on the side table. I began to fold origami swans out of the tissues to distract myself. It was difficult at first and I shredded the mistakes in rage but I eventually figured it out and soon there were origami tissue swans swimming all over the table and onto the floor. I hadn’t realized the man woke up but he did and he came over to inspect my fragile creations. A strong cigarette smoke smell wafted in my direction and I looked at the man. He was tall and very brute looking. A lit cigarette hung from his mouth the butt glowing red like a warning. How the hell did he get a lit cigarette? I didn’t even think people still smoked for that matter. He leaned closer to my swans the end of his fiery stick of potential lung cancer centimeters away from the nearest origami masterpiece.
He said something that sounded like, “that is something.” But through his terribly thick Russian accent I couldn’t be too sure. His cigarette bobbed as he spoke and got just close enough and the swan lit up like love letters soaked in kerosene. First one was on fire then they all were little origami tissue swans from hell.
I started screaming, he started screaming words in Russian, my swans were burning, and the sprinklers were crying. All the surviving swans on the table crumpled from the water and the others were tiny piles of gloppy grey ash. The artificial rain did nothing to smother my infernal anger. The Russian was still shouting foreign words and I lost it. I exploded in a fury of utter gibberish at him, my intent was to mock but he stopped his shouting, looked at me confused, shrugged, sat on the floor and lit a new cigarette. By then the sprinklers ceased and I was dripping wet with my fists clenched as I glared at the Russian. I furiously fell back into an equally wet chair when, fantastically, the power went out. The lights flickered twice and did not come back on. I HATE the world.
The Russian mumbled a few words in the dark and a little rectangle of light appeared in front of his ugly face. The security confiscated my purse that had all my belongings in it. How does he still have cigarettes, a lighter, and a phone?! Tiny shouting voices came from his little rectangle; it sounded like a sports game, I HATE Sports. I got up and carefully stepped closer for a better look. It was a soccer game, I HATE soccer. I marched away to what I figured was the direction of the door and felt around for the handle. My hand brushed over the cold chromed metal and I gripped it. I tried to turn it but it refused to move any more than a couple millimeters. I jiggled the handle multiple more times and banged on the door. The Russian shouted at me to shut up but it just sounded like a garbled mess of consonants and vowels. I shouted over my shoulder in gibberish. Why can't everyone just speak English!? I continued to shout and bang on the door.
I gave the door one last hard bang and a kick and the lights flickered back on. I let out a partial sigh of relief; I was still locked in a room with a rude Russian. The Russian shouted at his phone and I smirked at his annoyance. Suddenly the door made a metallic clicking noise and opened. Startled, I stepped back and tripped over the Russian. He glared at me from over my knee as I lay on my back with each leg over each of his shoulders.
The security man looked at me with concern and said, “Ma’am your luggage has been cleared, I'll have you note that 7 bottles of your perfume had to be confiscated. Other than that you are able to continue to your flight.”
I made no effort to be polite as I used the Russian to get back on my feet, “it's about damn time! Wait, did you say 7 bottles?! You took 7 bottles?!”
“A maximum amount of fluid ounces are allowed during a travel, no more, your abundance of fragrance exceeded that limit,” the man said. He appeared to be quite bored.
I took a deep breath and walked out the door and past the guard. I didn’t bother to let the security man lead me back despite his protesting and calling for me to, “wait!”
It was a fairly straight shot to the main area. However he did run up to me and did end up showing me where I could retrieve my bags. Of which I did retrieve my bags and also made sure to glare at every employee I made eye contact with up and until I got onto the plane. I checked my ticket and sat down in the first class section. Finally, I get to relax; I closed my eyes and rested my head on the back of the chair.
“Ma’am may I see your ticket?” an overly sweet voice said.
Without opening my eyes I pulled my ticket stub out and handed it to the annoying lady.
“Mmmm, just what I thought, you’re sitting in first class.”
“Yes, that’s what I paid for.”
“No Ma’am, I'm sorry but your ticket says coach, you’re in the wrong seat.”
I immediately opened my eyes and ripped the ticket from the woman’s hands. I read it over closely and it did say third class. The damned ticket stub said damned coach. I shouted angrily. I grabbed my carry on and stood up. That’s when I noticed the man standing next to the dream-crushing flight attendant. It was the Russian.
“How did you get out?!” I snapped.
“Misunderstanding,” he said in his ugly accent.
I let out a loud groan and I made sure to give both the lady and the Russian a good shove as I marched over to my cheap coach seat.
I am NEVER returning to this airport AGAIN.