After a long week, I rush to the airport and have about 30 minutes to get a bite to eat, try to eat it, and maybe connect with a friend by phone to enjoy a sane, human, pleasant conversation. I get the food and achieve the near-impossible task of finding an empty chair beside an outlet in the wall. (my cell phone is dead, but that is for a different story)
As I start to signal my intent to sit in the chair, place my suitcase beside it and turn to sit, a man (let’s call him Angry Man) standing beside the chair talking on the phone motions that it is his chair and then points to the suitcase on the chair beside it. I ask a normal question – are you using both these chairs? – and Angry Man answers yes. I then ask if someone else is joining him to use the second chair. Hey, I am kind enough to think maybe he is saving the chair for a co-worker or his wife and I would have let it go. Angry Man tells me he is using both chairs…at this point, I am perplexed until I realize he means that he wants to keep his luggage on one chair and have the other chair free, not because he wants to sit in it but because he wants to stand beside it and doesn’t want anyone sitting by him. I’m not sure if it was because he thought I would make noise while he was on the phone or because he thought I would listen to his fascinating conversation.
Despite Angry Man’s irritated face, I start to sit down. He then says “seriously, you want to sit here????” and I answer calmly “yes, I’m going to use the outlet”. Becoming more agitated since I am now causing him to interact with me when he is trying to have a very important conversation, Angry Man quickly grabs his suitcase and moves it to the end chair beside where he is standing and I sit in the second chair.
I proceed to eat my “dinner” – chicken nuggets from McDonald’s and Auntie Anne’s pretzel bites. I do hear snippets of conversation from Angry Man and he is having some issues in his job, explaining to one caller that this is a great business opportunity and they should listen to him, and then telling the next person he calls how he thinks he got the other guy at a bad time because he wasn’t open to the ideas. Angry Man finishes his calls, strongly grabs his suitcase, walks away with heavy footsteps, and is gone from my life.
I was struck by several things as I boarded my plane:
1. Angry Man wasn’t even boarding a plane at my gate so it was odd he felt the need to use two chairs at a busy gate where the chairs and the plane were full
2. I was looking forward to a conversation with a friend to end my long work week and Angry Man was going into his week-end with anger and frustration.
3. I was proud of myself for answering that yes, I wanted to sit in the empty chair instead of letting him be a bully to me for no reason.
I did eat my delicious treat – there is some comfort in dipping small bites of food into sauce. My husband calls this toddler food, but I don’t care and toddlers are often happy eating their bite-sized finger foods. And after eating and getting my phone charged for about 15 minutes, I had enough battery power to answer a call from the friend I was going to call. We only got 5 minutes to talk, but it was all I needed. She wished me well for safe travel and promised we’d catch up in the next few days. A long, hard work week ended with a smile.
I wonder how Angry Man finally ended his week…