August 11, 2000
The last thing our airports need is more gormless
people standing around clogging up the fire exits, so I'm not
suggesting you head down there for a day's entertainment. But
if you do happen to be there early, it can be quite a show.
I happened to be at the airport last night
waiting to pick up a relative at international arrivals. That's
where the real fun is, and since the almost every flight was
late, I had a lot of time on my hands. They should either stop
publishing flight arrival times or make it more sportsmanlike
and allow you to place bets on how long you'll be standing there.
Some families obviously don't feel like you
have been welcomed properly unless everyone on the block shows
up at the airport with a couple dozen roses. It looked like there
had been a raid on a funeral home last night. Either that or
there were a dozen Miss America runners-up on the same flight.
I'm fascinated by other people's luggage.
Even for a long trip I'm hard pressed to fill a small flight
bag. People were getting off the various flights with bags so
big you wonder if there's anything left in the country they're
coming from. And I mean anything. I picture those countries looking
like an apartment after moving day - nothing left except hooks
in the walls and an old box of baking soda in the fridge.
People dress one of two ways for the flight
home. The first group travel in sweats. With or without rhinestones
and glitter butterflies.
The next group are more fun - they're the
ones who decided to wear home the fashions they bought overseas.
Somehow that latest style from Milan looks a little goofy in
Or that beret from France that looked fine
when you were in a crowd of other beret wearers.
South of the border people come back with
the dreaded sombrero, destined to be hung on a basement wall.
The same goes for the caftan look, or the Clint Eastwood poncho.
A friend I travelled with brought back a pair
of Jesus sandals - a plain leather sole with thongs that criss-cross
up the calf and do up at the knee. They made him look like he
was auditioning for a bit part in Gladiator.
I have to admit, I've also made some poor
fashion choices when overcome with the exotic clothes overseas.
I brought home a pair of grey silk MC Hammer
harem pants from Paris in 1985.
I also bought what might charitably be referred
to as a "Sound of Music" suit. You know - the gray
suit with green lapels. Looked great in Austria - not so great
at my senior prom. At least that's what my date said - before
she stopped speaking to me forever.
At least I wore my fez once - to a Casablanca
party. I suppose that made the $3 price tag and carrying it back
on my lap from Turkey worthwhile.
Of course, you can tell your laughing friends
what I always told them - that your outfit is all the rage in
Europe and in six months everyone here will be wearing pirate
shirts and thigh boots.
It could happen. And maybe someday I'll get
to wear my harem pants again.