I work at a wine bar and cafe in a moderatley busy international airport. In the nine months I’ve been there, I’ve come across many of our fair country’s finest shmucks and douchebags. I’m talking folks you are genuinely bummed to know actually exist in our society, and sadly many of these people are prominent figures in American business and/or politics. Often times you can assume these corporate bastards are dreadful selfish beings without actually meeting them, but it’s a whole other beast when you are forced to engage with them.
“So here’s my idea. Now tell me this wouldn’t be a moneymaker. You ready? Okay…strip clubs in the airport. STRIP CLUBS IN THE DAMN AIRPORT!” Jeff from Cleveland was on is fourth or fifth Cab, getting worked up over this idea. “And I have another idea…STRIP CLUBS IN THE CLUB HOUSES ON THE GOLF COURSE!” Great Jeff, brilliant. He went on to fantasize aloud about how successful he thought these would be. A fellow bar patron alongside him laughed as he listened in with me. “Here I am just throwing my pearls at swine,” Jeff said extending his drunken arms in my direction. Eat shit, Jeff.
If I had a nickel for every suit and tie joker that stomped up to the bar with their bluetooth or headphones connected to their phones talking shop with their business chronies, I’d have probably like $20. This isn’t just talking, but often times yelling, just to make sure everyone around can hear them say words like “millions of dollars” or perhaps “vacation home in the Hamptons.” If they aren’t sitting, they are frantically pacing back and forth in our store, paying no mind to others. “I told that motherfucker to close the deal a god damn month ago! I want my fucking bonus!” Hey we all want a bonus, guy. Just chill out and fly far far away from me.
The shmuckery I’ve witnessed behind that bar is unparalleled by anything I’ve ever encountered in my life, job or otherwise. However, the shmuckdom extends beyond gender and social class, as the onslaught of awful travelers come in many shapes and forms. From one girl picking her scabs and leaving her bloody bandages on the floor, to one guy leaving a pile of toenails underneath one of our tables, there’s always shenanigans taking place in one way or another.
There was another incident where a couple of young girls decided to drink and dash. Luckily I noticed in time and I jogged down the hall to catch up with them. They plead oblivious to the situation, ultimately tipping quite well for their “brain farts.” Now just as a frame of reference, the store has no walls so people can come and go at their leisure from a wide variety of angles. Three businessmen at the far end of the bar had been laughing and whooping it up for the past few hours, racking up a bill damn near a couple hundred. While polishing glasses, Susan (fellow co-worker, sassy South African woman) jokingly said to me that the loudest of the three men said he was going to skip the bill like the girls. “I played four years in the NFL man you don’t want me to have to spear tackle you,” I said in jest. He let out a booming open-mouthed laugh to which I could see his fillings and said, “I’ve got a daughter you can tackle!” Awkwardness settled into the air quick. “Well sir that’s a whole other can of worms.” This was merely playful shmuckery, but it was just such a ridiculous thing to say.
On the contrary, for every 10 assholes I meet, there’s usually at least sometimes maybe one really great and interesting person, and/or celebrity of varying degrees. The other day I had James Laurinaitis, ex-linebacker of the St. Louis Rams. He recently got released, and was on his way to New Orleans to visit with the Saints when I talked to him. Being a football fan, it was intriguing to get the inside scoop of a fairly relevant player. I asked him if the Bills contacted him, but he said Rex hasn’t given him a ring yet.
Besides him I’ve encountered such random famous folks as Ashley Judd, Martina McBride, Lou Holtz, Patrick Carney of the Black Keys, Aaron Tippin (shmohawk), the guy who co-invented the spray tan, and likely dozens who I didn’t notice. Spray tan man was bronze and wrinkled as hell and just got back from Montepulciano Italy. You could spot this saggy bag of douche from a mile away.
The entertainment aspect of this job, along with my enjoyment of working with wine, have kept me around and dealing with these kinds of fools. Sometimes it can even be fun to deal with them and talk shit back, which they often enjoy. The people-watching in an airport is arguably the absolute best, too. There is often much going on in damn near every direction involving a rotating cast of crazies. Needless to say, there is no shortage of bullshit and hijinks that go down in the C concourse. The airport is truly a chaotic and indecent world unto its own, and I am compelled to document the atrocious/hilarious/disturbing human behavior within its confines.