I step outside and stand in the tedious cab line. Normally, this goes quickly, but today, no cabs are in sight. The air is hot and sticky. My phone chimes with incoming mail. The cabs start arriving and the guy behind me jumps into a cab that pulls up beside him, waiting in its own cab line. I don’t know if he’s oblivious to how this is supposed to work or if he just doesn’t care. I glare at him. There’s nothing he can do about it as the automatic door of his cab-mini van slowly closes. I don’t even know why I glare at him, why I care. So, I have to wait an additional 30 seconds because some guy was an asshole.
At my turn in line, I start to walk towards my cab — the cab designated for me based on my place in line — and the taxi line keeper, the one who hands out the fare flyers that I always shun, stands in my way. “Where are you going?”
“Why do you need to know?”
This is what I actually say.
He keeps at me and some stubborn bitchy part of me doesn’t want to tell him where I’m going, just wants to get in my cab, away from the line and the heat and the noise.
He won’t relent.
“Why can’t I just tell the driver where I’m going?”
He goes off on a rant about how that cab doesn’t go to Virginia, just to DC. I tell him I’m not going to Virginia, I’m going to DC. He lets me go.
Maybe it’s some chip on my shoulder, angry every time someone assumes I’m in the wrong place or thinks I don’t know what I’m doing. This happens a lot at airports. Recurring scene: I’m standing in line at the ticker counter. The line minder asks me where I’m going. I have no idea why this is relevant. “This line is for business class for international flights.” “Yes. So says this sign I’m standing directly next to. I can read.”
One guy, understandably irritated at my lack of any shred of politeness told me he was only trying to help. “You’re not helping me.”
So maybe it’s that and maybe it’s that if I feel like I am constantly worn down by the noise. By people wanting things from me, needing things from me, relentless. My phone chimes again. More email. Please schedule a call with me tomorrow. I laugh. There’s no room in my schedule, not even for a call, for two weeks. I can’t even be left alone to get into a cab?
I know. I’m a jerk. There’s no part of me that thinks my reactions are justified.
I’m sitting in a hotel bar. The waitress says I should try the red velvet cupcake. They’re so good, she’s been known to eat three for dinner. But the other people in the bar are loud, inescapable. I close the browser tabs with my email. Log out of instant messaging. I feel too constantly accessible. It feels intrusive every time someone wants to be my friend on Facebook, on Foursquare.
This morning, at my apartment, before I left for the airport, before I was nonsensically rude to someone just trying to do their job in the humid, oppressive heat outside an airport, I saw a huge seal laying on one of the little boat docks. A baby has been hanging out the last few weeks, but this is the first time I’ve seen one of the parents.
But I had a plane to catch.