Something happened at the airport. Maybe because it was too early for the holidays to seem like hell — we were still in the sugar-sprinkles and peppermint-sticks version of the holidays.
But listen. I sort of catapulted from my taxi to the terminal, too many bags, left my credit card behind. The cabbie rolled down the window and handed it out to me.
1) Found a stranger’s credit card in the slot of the self-check machine. I almost walked away and left the card, but remembered how I’d just had mine returned. So I gave it to a gate agent, who presented it to a tiny, teary frantic woman.
2) An elderly woman — presumably a legit airport employee — who seemed like a cross between a nun and a conspiratorial older classmate who knows the cool place to smoke, pulled me out of the baggage line. She checked me in on a separate kiosk and installed me in a much shorter line, saving me about 45 minutes.
3) Met a lovely blonde woman, mid-fifties, sharp New York accent; at the gate. She was reading Patti Smith’s Just Kids. We struck up a conversation, and as it turns out, she’s old friends with Robert Mapplethorpe’s studio manager. We talked art and books. (Caroline, wherever you are, thanks for the inspiration.)
4) Dropped a dime in the terminal. A skinny, smiley Chinese man picked it up and handed it back.
5) In line at Wendy’s, a woman I’d never seen before handed me a $6 voucher for food that said she couldn’t use, and then vanished. Cheeseburger and Frosty!
6) The teenager seated next to me on the flight gave me a piece of gum and gave cough drops to the flight attendant. I helped create a life plan for him to transfer from Purdue to NYU and stop being an engineering major.
Everything felt tinted with generosity and a sense of congenial good humor. I wasn’t sure I was really at the airport, after all.