Headed off to Chicago this week for some training. And by training I mean meaningless "leadership and communication" exercises that accomplish only one thing: Giving me a free trip to Chicago. Sitting here in the airport, where people watching is at its finest, I am watching a cross section of Denver's culture. Whether it's the "Sales" family. Mother/Father sales combination force that travels the county with baby strapped on their backs....literally, to the hipster snowboarder who looks ready to smoke a bowl and "shred some fresh pow pow" at the same time, and at ANY time. But today I was treated with a few bonus characters.
First, the Cowboy Businessman who's lost his marbles. Seen walking at a leisurely pace down the terminal with an ipod connected to his amplifier roller bag, blasting country music as he looks straight ahead, as if he thinks the music is only in his head and not pervasivly confusing and annoying everybody around him.
Second, the dude-bro. The dude-bro is a none to rare species of idiotic male, that is readily recognizable by his backwards sunglasses, imperfectly fitted ball cap, and a odd gait in his step where he sort of maybe has a limp but probably not. It's mostly like a frisbee golf accident. But just in case you are not familiar, the dude-bro typically will wear a shirt that personifies his favorite slogan or his general outlook on life. In this case, the slogan was, "Cool Story BRO: Tell it Again"
But no one single passenger will ever beat out my favorite airport warrior. The old lady, who may or may not be your grandmother, who sits taking up 3 to 4 seats at the gate, especially when it's crowded and people are standing, who shifts her focus between her multitude of entertainment magazines and crossword / sudoku puzzles, and leering at every other passenger who she suspects is either a terrorist or a democrat. She's probably the most fun to watch by somebody like me, who can only hope that while stealing a glance at her odd behavior, she notices me staring and changes her whole body language to become extra cautious. I can only assume she has one hand on the pepper spray or rape whistle at all times.
My favorite aspect of airport travel is the astonishment that all these people can do 15 things at one time, but that none of those 15 things is ever watching where they are walking to and from the gate. My impression of the majority of these people is that when they are in the comfort of their own home, they mindless stare at the TV for hours on end without the ability to accomplish anything; however, once you put them in an airport they are able to strap on a carry-on bag clearly larger than most checked luggage, drag their child in tow (or monitor him from 80 feet ahead), send text messages, drink their beverages, eat potato chips, scratch their noses, adjust their crotch, and walk in zig zags down the terminal so seamlessly!
So next time you're in the airport, take a moment to appreciate the people around you for their extreme weirdness and fantastic oddity. And preferably, take that moment while you are standing in the middle of the aisle blocking all the flow of passenger traffic.