Ringtones, Overheard Intimacies, and Wardrobe Changes: Observations at The Airport Gate

Source: Tampa Bay Times
Source: Tampa Bay Times

I am sitting in an airport waiting for a connecting flight, which now has a 40 minute delay. This is a sudden trip. My brother-in-law Elliot passed away yesterday, and I am headed back to the Midwest for his funeral. His health had been failing for some time, so his death was not a surprise.

Still, the inherent urgency when we receive these calls, and the manner in which they force us to make lightening-speed changes to our schedules and routines, is unsettling. In the last 24 hours I’ve mentally vacillated between the realization that someone I loved very much is gone, to still managing to find humor from the freneticism of packing, making flight and rental car reservations, and regrouping with family and friends to honor and remember this wonderful man.

I am fairly certain that he’s experiencing a medium of diabolical comfort from my hardships at the moment. That’s how he rolled.

Elliot was a kindred spirit when it came to observing the ironies and foibles of the human race. Or families, which depending on how you define things, do tend to sit on the fringes of the animal world. He was the only other person I personally knew besides myself who watched Marlin Perkins every week and never failed to see traits that made him question the scientific principles of heredity.

Source: DVDTalk
Source: DVDTalk

I could always count on Elliot for silent, inappropriate humor during Thanksgiving meals, high holiday observances, or formal ceremonies at public settings. He would look at me to raise an eyebrow or make a sideways glance that would convey the slightest touch of non-verbal, observational sarcasm. His wife (my sister), wily to this tendency of his, would cast a disapproving look, which would only add to the hilarity at our later rendezvous when we would verbally compare our snarky observations.

It’s my belief that our hijinks were done to illustrate that no matter how great our accomplishments, how learned and perhaps even cultured we might someday become, there would always be a few of us who somehow never managed to shed that 13 year old teenager that still lingers within us.

Elliot wasn’t my role model, nor was he my alter ego. We were just too different. Nevertheless, we did make utter fools of ourselves sometimes.

As a tribute then, I offer the following observations as I sit in a very crowded gate area. I think he would approve…

RINGTONES are very distracting. I never really notice them much in my normal life, but when a group is all actively involved in the exact same activity (i.e., waiting), their phones tend to make to make lots of noises that I personally find to be déclassé. Of course, my own tone of “Carpet Crawlers” is elegant.

INTIMATE anecdotes are being shared right and left by my fellow passengers without any effort to conceal information. I mean, why bother? None of us will ever see the other again, right?. Still, I do have to wonder if my overhearing about how someone’s boss having an affair with his previous wife is a good idea. Ditto for the brother of a woman who just learned he’s under investigation for bank fraud.

A WOMAN just stood up to remove her bra from under her shirt, folded it, and then placed it in her carry-on bag. She then smiled at the couple sitting across from her. Technically I don’t think that was a wardrobe malfunction.

BARBEQUE ribs can be eaten eaten while sitting at an airport gate and wearing a suit and tie! This guy must have been inspired by reading Bonfires of the Vanities.

That’s all, folks. Boarding starts in seven minutes. This one is for you, Elliot.

Until next time…


21 thoughts on “Ringtones, Overheard Intimacies, and Wardrobe Changes: Observations at The Airport Gate

  1. I’m so sorry at the loss of your BIL and partner in family crime (earning the disapproving look from your sister…) 😦 It’s great when somebody in the family marries a semi-kindred spirit. He sounds like he was fun to be around. And what a great tribute to him… Peace and safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post seems to me to be the blog equivalent of an Irish wake. They’re great fun. And it sounds like Eliot was too. So my condolences on you loss, and that of your sister.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marty, I’m so sorry to hear of Elliott’s passing. Such a great tribute and one that many of us would like to have ourselves. I imagine that reminiscing about Elliot and writing this post brought you some comfort on your loss. Hoping you had safe travels. Tammy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tammy, that’s so very kind of you to write. I hope Elliot will also forgive my many typos in this — they are my collateral damage from rushing before having to board the plane! Indeed, we all did have many fine reminiscences of him during my week there. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. – Marty


  4. I can see this will be a loss for some time to come and I am sorry he will no longer be there for you,especially at holiday functions. The two of you really seemed to know how to handle these sometimes angst-filled family get-togethers. I envy you those fun-filled memories. I hope you remember Elliot often and it brings smiles into your heart. Clare PS Airports! Argghhhhhhh!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. First, let me add my condolences to those already given. Elliot sounds like one of the good ones.

    I went out to Calif. to visit my son and his family recently. I was sitting in a Delta plane waiting for everyone to finish boarding and was in the row behind a Delta pilot (or co-pilot) who was having a loud phone conversation complaining about someone he worked with. Besides being a real douche canoe, he must have said “Just between you and I” at least five times. I wanted to scream “It’s ‘just between you and me,’ you pompous twit!” but restrained myself. The people who really get to me are the ones who walk around with those little Bluetooth earpiece phones. Sometimes the earpiece isn’t obvious right away and it always startles me when someone wearing one will abruptly start talking (usually in a loud voice). My first thought is they’re schizophrenic or have Tourette’s. I suppose it is possible that they might have one of those conditions AND also wear an earpiece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But those earpieces accessorize so beautifully. Not quite as nice as the belly bag but awfully close. I used ride the Amtrak between New York and Washington, DC for many years, and you’d get these really self-important blowhards sitting in each car who would pontificate loudly enough for everyone to hear the entire ride. I finally learned to crank up the volume on my headphones, which would ruin whatever I was trying to read but it was a Sophie’s Choice anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My condolences for your loss, Marty.

    I think Eliot was right there with you in spirit as you observed a rash amount of aberrant airport behavior! My times at the airport have always been much more boring than this!

    Sounds like you had a few good chuckles that day! ❥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks, JM. Your timing is perfect because I was just speaking to my sister last night about Elliot’s gravestone unveiling (a Jewish burial ceremony a year following the funeral). We had a few good laughs, so apparently you tuned into that somehow by deciding to read this post. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s weird that you mention that because I was hoping as I clicked send that I would not be bringing back sad memories. I’m glad you guys have the laughs. It’s always poignant to remember the funny stuff…this I know. ❥

        Liked by 1 person

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