I thought of that yesterday, sitting in the Mile High City, on stand-by, waiting for a plane, any plane, to DFW.
The refrain of Warren Zevon’s “Things to do in Denver when you’re dead” drifted in and out of my brain from the moment I arrived from Gillette Wyo., and my Dad’s funeral.
You won't need a cab to find a priest
Maybe you should find a place to stay
Some place where they never change the sheets
And you just roll around Denver all day
LeRoy says there's something you should know
Not everybody has a place to go
And home is just a place to hang your head
And dream of things to do in Denver when you're dead
Flying “non-rev” means that when all “revenue” seats are taken I can climb aboard and with a good shot at first cabin; but springtime in the Rockies, cancellations in the system, the ridiculous Lesbionic Homeland Security bureaucracy and the overPC and undersmart TSA combined to prevent my leaving until 8:02 p.m.—last flight of the day. After all, the Flying Granmoms (left) are one of the greatest terrorists threats we face.
… which finally got me in my bed by 12:25 a.m. today—21 hours after I started out.
Historically in these situations I am usually Angry White Dude; no super powers… but everyone stays away from me; works just as well. But yesterday I adopted my ReporterMan visage and so-cloaked, I can be detached and just observe, as if I was not in the same boat.
Uncle Gene and I flew out of Gillette together for Houston and North Texas respectively. A fellow traveler was kind enough to take a quick snap.
We hugged (Gene and I), wished each other well and I thought I had my standby seat. Not so fast… three available, I was fourth.
Thus began the Long March.
For the next 11 hours I reported to various gates in the DIA B Terminal only to be turned away each time; but “stand by” means exactly that. Originally I was at B23. The next flight was B60 which I estimate at between a third and a half mile.
Interesting characters abounded.
There was Pippi Longstockings, left, who shall we say, was wound a little too tight for air travel… she went everywhere with us—The Dirty Dozen—who had the least chance to hook a ride.
John Dapper, there, was so interesting-looking, that I almost went over to strike up a chat. He seemed above all the minor chaos, a ship of serenity in a choppy sea of wasted energy and tension.
Later, Madame Hermione Praust-Dowager rolled past me with dignity and class born of advanced years, with the many painful memories of the long-lived and the moxie to remain on the go while her peers shuffled land-locked with aches and pains, watching the last few innings of life’s Great Game.
She could have been Mr. Dapper’s mum.
Naturally I was drawn to the children and dogs, there was a great number of the former and few of the latter.
And The Kid was most serine of all; carried everywhere, most needs immediately cared for, food provided 24-7, home and hearth, free medical care, free clothes and constant entertainment; no responsibilities, 100% ego-centric, selfish, caring little for his neighbor, desirous of others to fight his battles…. in other words, he’s well on his way to becoming a liberal democrat.
That’s okay Kid, you’ll get it in the end because grown-ups know that “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
I love watching kids.
Get up the next day and do it all again
And in the middle is that zoned-out period where they fight the inevitable, the end of the day.
I am reminded of Dylan Thomas’ admonition for those of us now a great distance from our rookie year…. “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Children live that… so should we.
That and opposable thumbs are the reason we’re the most successful omnivores in the history of all Creation.
Politics even made an appearance, or at least a politician in the form of former Congressman Tom Tancredo who was partly responsible for bringing the suicidal issue of illegal immigration to the forefront of voter consciousness during his run for the 2004 GOP presidential nomination.
Still, he’s a good guy and led the way to make shoring up our borders an absolute necessity.
Here are a few more photo highlights:
These people were happy…. they had guaranteed seats:
Lady Bighair is an attractive woman in her late 30s; if I’d had more time I would have suggested taking a great deal of volume out of her mass of hair. Sometimes, less is more; I would have stressed the need for a much shorter, feathered cut to frame her face, and perhaps lighten it overall with subtle streaks about three-four shades different.
Just as importantly, Honey, you have to lose the “I’m a college sophomore living in the dorm and this is what I wear no matter what my Mom says.” Uh-huh… that’s over Dearie; go with a gray pencil skirt, a simple blouse and a dark, short jacket to create a more visible waist; and definitely plain black boots with a three-four inch heel to elongate the figure (she couldn't have been 5’5”).
Finally…. take the Holstein cow shoes that you must have purchased on a dare and give them to a seventh grader… you’ll both be happier.
Sorry…. where was I?
Oh… I’m winding this up.
Now this guy I have a problem with… or more correctly, his T-shirt.
Son, it’s absolutely not; and I can tell you why…write me here at the LM31 Southern Command HQ.
And I wouldn’t be a great photojournalist if I wasn’t willing to go the distance in serving my readers. I will never stop speaking truth to power and commending those willing to brave 11-degree temperatures to travel and support our national economy:
Oh…. and Pippi?
But she was nowhere to be seen; as names were called and seats taken, she was gawdknowswhere as her husband checked his watch called on the cell phone, looked down the concourse and fretted.
I’d have gotten on the plane.
Finally, probably only minutes from being the last of the Dozen, she jog-walks up, hands over her boarding pass and is now… unfortunately… in Texas.