Airports are great. You never know what might happen. This time, the adventure was mostly amusing rather than threatening, harrowing, or otherwise traumatizing.
For this story to make sense, you should know that my hair is short and dark brown, with long-ish bangs dyed bright orange. Not hair-color orange - orange like the fruit. The inside of the fruit. Or maybe like a mango. Anyway, it stands out.
I was in the Baltimore International Airport, en route from my home base in the North East to do some family stuff in Miami Beach. (I really do have family there, and we really did have stuff to do. It was not just a good excuse to be in Miami Beach in February, although it was also that.)
I was walking quickly because I had just gotten off of a moving sidewalk, and regular walking speed just seems so slow when you get off of those things. A maintenance worker with an obvious, probably mild, developmental disability called to me from across the wide, empty hallway. He was pushing his cart back in the direction I had just come from. I stopped, he stopped, and we carried on this conversation by shouting to each other across humming of the moving sidewalk:
Him: Hey! I like your hair!
Him: It's really bright.
Him: What's your mom think?
Me: She hasn't seen it yet. (This was a lie. She doesn't particularly like it, but my haircolor is probably the least of my mom's worries about me.)
Him: Oh. You have a boyfriend?
Me: Not exactly. (Actually, not at all. Why'd I say that? I don't know. Maybe force of habit, from all those years when people would ask me if I had a boyfriend, and I had to decide whether or not to tell them about my girlfriend.)
Him: Oh. You will.
Me: Gosh, thanks. (I meant it, oddly.)
Him: Yeah, someday you will have a boyfriend. He'll teach you to change your hair back.
Me: Oh, um, okay ...
Him: Have a nice day!
Me: You, too, dude. You, too.
This was only the first of several bizarre interactions I had in between Miami Beach and home. In addition, I was mistaken once for a 16-year-old woman and once for a 14-year-old boy, encouraged to hurry up and give my parents grandbabies, asked if the baby sweater I was knitting was for my own child and also if it was for my younger sibling, and once I sat for two hours next to an older, apparently middle-class woman who was very earnestly engaged in reading Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickeled and Dimed, a book that was assigned to me three times in three years of college, and which makes me angrier than any other book I've ever read.
Mmm-mm, airports. Never a dull moment, I'm telling you.
2017: Reflections on Enough
4 months ago