Tag Archives: airports

Getting in the short line

TSA preYesterday I made a special trip to the Newark Airport to conduct my in-person interview for TSA Pre.

It seemed like a good idea when I signed up a couple of weeks ago.  Interviews are only conducted at Newark and JFK — not my usual LaGuardia — so I opted for Newark since I can get there easily enough by train.

Then the heavens opened up.

It was raining cats and dogs yesterday morning.  The trains were all delayed.  Even the tram at Newark was stopping and starting due to the weather.

So, needless to say, I was about seven minutes late for my interview, and the TSA doesn’t wait for anyone.  They would only interview me if they had another ‘no-show.’ (Thankfully, that happened within 30 minutes.)

The interview itself took about five minutes, and I was approved — woo hoo!  But if you see my ID, I won’t look happy about it.

The TSA doesn’t allow you to smile.

Dear New York City airports,

I will be headed back your way in less than 48 hours. Coming home is always a pleasure. But let’s be honest, my Big Apple airstrips…

Youse guys are fugly.

My current trip through Narita-Tokyo Airport en route to Singapore drove that point home…hard. I only spent two hours in Japan, and the ultramodern, high-tech facility convinced me that JFK and LGA need a major redo.

2013-04-28_09.08.16We can begin with a fun identity for each of you. Look at this little guy; he graces most of the signage at Narita Airport.

What is he?  Who cares? He’s cute… and LaGuardia could use a major dose of cuteness… JFK, too.

There’s nothing cute about either of you now.  No offense.

And speaking of high-tech, check out this gadget in the airport restrooms in Narita.

2013-04-28_09.14.23The facilities in Japan have talents that go far beyond the simple flush. (Come to think of it, everyone was smiling a lot.)

Lastly, you need better food…but I’ve always said that.

Okay, NYC airports, get started.  I’ll be back in two days, and I am expecting great things!

A failure to communicate

So, I was waiting to board my flight home at O’Hare today when I witnessed this little scene in the gate area:

A kind-looking woman in her 60’s complimented a young boy of 4 or 5 on his cap. It was a mustard yellow corduroy, a twin of the hat his father was wearing.

But he just stared at her.

She said a few more words, smiling, encouraging him to interact. Nothing. And all I could think was — we have taught kids today to be so wary of strangers,  he was too frightened to even say ‘thank you’ to an innocent compliment.

A few minutes later, the woman left the area.  And the little boy’s father leaned over and started talking to him…and whatever he said, it certainly wasn’t English.

Huh.  I guess not speaking the language could be a reason, too.

People watching

I spent part of my morning at Chicago O’Hare, one of my very least favorite airports.

(We have a history.  Nuff’ said.)

But today, I had a very enjoyable 20 minute stay.  Besides the fact that my flights were on time – shock, shock – my gate’s seating area was behind the bank of video monitors containing departure and gate information.

From my vantage point, I could watch people’s faces as they surveyed the monitors…and I have to admit, it was pretty darn entertaining.

Some people barely stopped…just a quick pause and squint of the eyes to confirm what they already knew, and they were on their way.

Others would walk up, looking totally lost and exhausted, their eyes darting around for quite some time before they landed upon their flight.  You could see the moment they latched upon the information they needed before they made their move toward their gate.

That part was funny, too.  They would often head one way, then the other, then back again.  (I’m sure I’ve done that little dance myself a time or two.)

Men often took the opportunity to adjust their pants and belt.  Kill two birds with one stone, ya know?  Very efficient.

And couples always found something to debate.  (Not efficient at all.)

Regardless of the drama, no one at the monitors seemed aware that I was watching this little slice of airport life…so I continued my shameless spying.

That is, until I turned and noticed a man sitting at a bench across the way watching me watch them with a smile on his face.

Oh well…I’m sure someone found him very funny, too.

Hair show

I have been on the road for the past five days, which means I’ve heard the following phrase a lot:

“Do people tell you that you look like…Kathy Griffin?”

Why, yes…yes, they do.  Pretty much every day.  But especially when I am in airports or train stations or anywhere that people — gay men in particular — think Kathy might be out and about.

I think it’s the hair more than anything.  I’m sure if we stood side-by-side, they’d notice I’m a good half-foot taller, eat more and curse less.

I really don’t mind.   Even though Kathy’s show on Bravo is called “Life on the D-List,” let’s face it — the lady is an A-List celeb now.  She’s won two Emmys and has been nominated for two more this year.

If you watch the “D-List,” which used to simply chronicle her attempts to promote her tour — you’ve probably noticed it’s morphed into something decidedly more high concept this year.  Yes, she’s still a shameless self-promoter, but now she’s using her celebrity to draw attention to causes she believes in, like the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and ovarian cancer awareness.

Her methods are uniquely Team Griffin, which means she is often cleaning up messes she made along the way.  That’s what makes the show so hilarious.

That…and her toilet of a mouth.