Smack Dab In the Middle of a Situation Overrun by Fools

Bomb scares, angry drunk women, obnoxious gingers bothering nice Indian men, and Macklemore. Pretty much sums up the past week at BNA.

First was the ordeal in which an entire Ft. Lauderdale bound Southwest plane had to evacuate right before take off. A nervous young girl at the bar was giving us the lowdown of the situation at hand. Apparently a belligerent man, unfortunately a man of Middle Eastern decent, was getting unruly on the plane and not complying with attendants. Not putting on his seatbelt and loud cursing, that kind of thing. Eventually the man had to be escorted off the plane, to which apparently he did very willfully without hesitation or argument. When he got off the plane somebody noticed that he’d left behind his phone and a gold box of sorts. This triggered a scare that forced everybody off and the police and bomb dogs to board the plane. I could see a group of policeman surrounding the man in question. How necessary this all was I don’t know, but apparently enough to halt 120-some people from getting to Florida. As time passed they deemed the plane unfit for flight, forcing the flyers to wait on another plane. It was a disturbing reality check that this shit actually happens, and not only scares but the real deal. So hard to fathom.

Shortly after the frantic young woman left, two middle-aged women arrived to the center of the bar, separately. One got her computer out like many do and got settled in.

“What’s your guys wi-fi password?” She asks.

“Our internet has been down for awhile now, but the airport has a general wi-fi for people but it sucks.” I said

“YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. What kind of place doesn’t have wi-fi nowadays? Seriously ridiculous.”

People are so reliant on wi-fi and plugs it’s completely insane. I would be lying if I said I don’t seek them out myself, but the amount of weasels that come in stripped of all decent, reasonable human qualities asking for either of the two is astounding. Like fucking zombies, people just walk in with a dumb blank face and come up to the bar saying “plugs? wi-fi? wi-fi? plugs?” Like yeah sure I get it but what about uttering out a five second greeting at least. A little “hey there, do you guys have wi-fi or perhaps a plug I can use? That’d be really swell.” Is that so much to ask? And we have to shoo away so many clueless assholes bumbling into the store to sit on the floor to charge like little brainless selfish zombies. I fantasize about headbutting all of them square in the nose.

Next to the woman whose lifeblood was wi-fi, sat a shockingly put-together drunk woman who hid the fact for a little while. She complained that the Chardonnay was corked, and upon smelling it I acknowledged it did waft a little funk to the nostrils. I gladly opened a new bottle and got her a new glass.

“You know sometimes a whole case of wine can be corked.” My compadre Susan said to the lady.

“Um no actually. It’s 2% of all wines that gets corked. It can never be a whole case.”

“Yes it CAN affect a whole case as a matter of fact.” Susan said in her enjoyable British accent.

“You’re wrong, I work with wine, I think I would know but thanks for trying.” The drunk woman snapped.

At this point Suzy Q had to walk away because she was boiling with anger, and believe you me this is a tiny older woman you don’t want to fight with. She will tear you limb from limb.

Regardless of who was right, the woman was being so unpleasant. After she cashed out, she not once, but twice attempted to pay her bill again.

“Look lady if you want me to buy a few things with your card I will, but you’ve already paid, I don’t know what else to tell you.” I said. She was visually embarrassed each time, and with a sloppy stroke of the hand signed the receipt and stumbled off into the sea of hasty travelers.

Finally was a jacked ginger fella sitting at the end of the bar next to a meek, mild Indian man quietly eating his tomato soup, not bothering a soul. The ginger was loud as hell from the start, asking me 21 questions and aggressively pointing to different items on the menu. Eventually he settled on the cheapest glass and when he lost my attention he started chatting with the Indian man.

“Hey bro how’s the soup? What’re you drinking? How is it?” He led in with some basics and they got talking a little more. The Indian man was clearly not comfortable talking with the buffoon, giving quiet one word answers. The Indian man fumbled a piece of crostini into his soup and it splattered on his shirt a bit.

“AW NO WAY DUUUUDE THAT BLOWS! How much was that shirt? Where’d you get it?” The Indian man was getting more and more frustrated. It was a long sleeve, crisp white button up now filled with pale red dots.

“So what do you do for work? A cardiologist? Whoa. What’s your actual title? Do you have any regrets?” Such a weird chain of questions, I thought. The poor guy couldn’t chug his wine and finish his soup fast enough.

“Wait a second are you on this flight to Houston? HELL YEAH BRO!” The Indian man died inside a little bit, and was soon on his way.

Oh, and I also passed Macklemore by the O’Charleys around gate C10 on my way to work. I got him in a headlock and we commenced into a good old fashioned wrestling match right in the middle of the walkway. I mean I got a creepy several seconds long Bigfoot-style video of him. What is life.

 

 

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Sleeping Lady Gets Unruly

I figured I’d just go straight ahead Fred with the title. No beating around the bush with this one. What started out as a day like many others, ended in three security guards escorting a loud-mouthed woman “with a master’s degree” out of our store.

The woman had been hunched over at table 63 for nearly an hour, unbeknownst to us if it was alcohol related. She apparently only had one Moscato (about 7% alcohol) from us, a bit of knowledge that would’ve been handy when I attempted to move the beast. Regardless, she had to be asked to leave because we needed that table for awake customers.

When fellow co-worker of mine Margaret first asked her to kindly move elsewhere, she just put her head back down and payed no mind. “Hey will you get her out of here please?” Margaret asked.

It’s always fun asking unwanted people (campers i.e. freeloading shmuckos) to leave, so I gladly abided. This time was the most fun.

“Excuse me miss hey you need to get going please. You need to sleep somewhere else. We can’t have you sleeping on our table.”

“What? What?! I’m over here minding my own business I ain’t botherin’ nobody.”

“The thing is we are busy and we need this table for paying customers.”

“I AM A PAYING CUSTOMER DAMN IT! I PAID 12-13 DOLLARS FOR ONE OF YOUR DAMN MOSCATOS!”

“Well I didn’t know that, but still there are other places to relax so plea…”

“OH HELL NO. HELL NO. THIS IS SOME BULLSHIT. WHY YOU GOTTA COME BOTHER ME? I AINT DOIN’ NOTHIN.”

The thing is this shit happens all the time. We have to kick at least 7-10 people out a day, especially in the mornings. Most tend to understand and comply, or if we are deathly slow we let them hang.

At that point it was just me trying to talk over her and her getting louder and louder until I walked away repeating, “Hey thanks for being so pleasant and wonderful.” She got out of her seat and followed me back to the counter to continue yelling. Some customers were more captivated than others, but it evolved into quite the show.

“Why don’t YOU leave? OH WAIT this is your place of employment. You CAN’T leave. I have a master’s. I HAVE a master’s.” She kept saying to me.

“I don’t give a SHIT about your master’s!” We continued to exchange unpleasant conversation.

“It’s because I’m black isn’t it? Because I’m black? There was a little white boy yelling over there and you didn’t say nothin’ to him!” First of all there’s often yelling and bells and whistles and alarms going off all the time from every direction, just not directly inside our store.

“That is the most absurd thing I’ve heard miss. Completely uncalled for to say something like that. And I did not hear any little white boy yelling.” Eventually my boss stepped out from in back and diverted the hostile woman’s attention towards her. I then watched as a spectator into her non-stop blathering and trying to collect company info and our names.

Eventually the trusty airport police were hot on the scene and confronted the pacing woman. She was on the phone with someone from our headquarters. The airport po-po got her to sit down and the situation was divulged, ultimately having the unruly woman escorted out. Her ramblings and accusations were getting more and more distant as they took her off to airport jail or whatever they do.

I thought it was awesome. I just think of it as some TV show or a game like “Get the Crazy Lady Away and Win Another Strange Life Experience.” My boss and other co-workers were bent out of shape over it though. They care more about the integrity of the bar than I do.

And as fate would have it, a man caught a minute-long video of part of it. The quality is piss poor but you can hear some priceless snippets. Just another day in the war zone that is the airport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Face Only a Fist Could Love

Amidst the hoards of hasty travelers shouting out drink orders over the shoulders of others, shoving there way through their fellow hyena brethren for food and drinks, stood a most audacious woman. Her C U Next Tuesday face still haunts my dreams, unless I’m lucid dreaming then I just scream into her head until it explodes like a Mortal Kombat fatality. In the middle of a fucking zoo, with the entire store full of people spilling out into the walkways and gate areas, this woman had the nerve to ask such a question.

“Could you please tell me if the brie cheese is pasteurized?”

“Um you know I’m not sure but I would think it is.” I try to walk away to the masses of other humans that need real assistance.

“SIR-HEY-SIR- well could you go look?” She stops me from leaving and gives me sass eyes only Satan could love.

I was livid.

Nothing makes me want to dropkick somebody more than hearing about their bullshit new-age food restrictions or concerns. Hell maybe they aren’t even new-age but my God. First of all the vast majority of commercial cheeses are going to be pasteurized. We aren’t a merchant on a little dirt road in rural France. Don’t worry, the cheese is safe. Second of all GET A CLUE and know better than to ask such an absurd question at the worst possible time. I’ve got six people trying to cash out and six people trying to put alcohol in their bloodstream and you think it’s acceptable to ask me to leave all that to check if Pasteur’s method found its way to our brie? But I get it, I know the kind. The entitled little shmuckos and shmuckettes that can’t comprehend not getting their prissy little way and paying mind to others. It’s these kinds of people that should be the ones sent to Mars to start colonizing so the rest of us humans on earth can live in peace.

If you’re someone who is being served by a server or being prepared food by a (most likely) angry man or woman in a kitchen and you have a laundry list of specifications on what you can and cannot consume, just know that you are disliked immensely and the chef is going to scream into your food and soak it with hate. Most likely if you are that person in a restaurant or bar or whatever, you are obnoxious in other aspects of life too, so again, GET A CLUE. And if you are going to be gluten free or fat free or joy free or whatever, at least be extra nice about it and per chance acknowledge your inconvenience. Nobody has thyme for that.

Is the cheese pasteurized…give me a break.

 

 

 

Bob and Vinny: Good Old Boys

“Would the owner of a red…key-tar? Please come to the information desk in concourse C to reclaim your item.” The announcer’s skeptical voice and pause after “keytar” gave me a good laugh. The guy definitely learned something new that day. I swear sometimes they say the most absurd names or items to retrieve just for fun. There’s been a few instances where they’ve informed a particular confused traveler that they’ve gotten off at the wrong destination. “Attention Dale Crisp. Dale Crisp you are NOT in Phoenix. You are in Nashville. Dale Crisp you need to get back on flight 1746 to Phoenix.”

It’s been a hectic few weeks what with the spring breakers and many a conferences in town, which meant the pendulum of bullshit was in full swing. On the contrary, we had part of the French women’s soccer team in which was cool. They were decked out in turquoise windbreaker pants and jacket, clearly belonging to some sports club. They had just played at Nissan Stadium against our women’s soccer team in which they lost. We also had a woman who was dating a member of the band Fishbone who just got back from some Rancid and other assorted punk rock bands cruise. Sounded pretty wild. Titanic meets Warped Tour. I imagine there was a lot less slam dancing and moshing with this crowd. I mean I would think.

And then there was Bob and Vinny. Bob was an all torso no legs kinda guy. He rocked some XXL black Martial Arts hoodie with a seasoned five a clock shadow and thin wire glasses. He was probably in his 50s or so, not too old. He had an energy and general excitement that just made you want to interact with him. He was waiting for his business partner to fly in from New York City, and Bob had just gotten in from Los Angeles. He spoke in giddy excitement about Vinny, claiming he is the quintessential Italian New Yorker who very well could’ve been in a few Scorsese movies. “I’m tellin’ ya this guy is the real deal! If you close your eyes you’d think you’re watching Goodfellas I ain’t kiddin! He’s also blind. He can’t see worth a damn! Well, if the lights are bright enough he can see a little, but if it’s dark, forget it!”

I expected to see a man walk through the little makeshift tunnel with a walking stick and sunglasses, maybe a seeing eye dog. Instead Vinny emerged from the tunnel looking around like a regular sightseer, seeing Bob at the end of the bar and acknowledging him with an unclear hand gesture. Vinny strutted on over with his gray blazer and gold chain taking a seat next to Bob. “Hey there how we doin’ chief,” he said giving me a little head nod. Vinny immediately lost points with that shit. “Hey boss” or “Hey chief” or any of that is just the worst. I’ve never been involved with Native American hierarchies and even if I had how would he know? I don’t show up to work with a headdress or a necklace fashioned with buffalo teeth or anything. Anyways, I soon turned the corner as Vinny began cracking me up.

“Shit man I think I broke my hand again it hurts like a bastard,” he said in obvious pain rotating his wrist and rubbing it. “I just got my cast off today but I think I need a brace or some shit.” God knows how Vinny broke his hand. I wanted to think it was something mob related. It could’ve been tennis for all I knew. “Hey what’s ya name kid? Paul? Say you got any bee’as?” “Beers? Yeah we got a couple beers.”

As time went on Vinny and Bob were talking like a couple of high school kids, excited to hit downtown and whoop it up underneath the bright neon lights of Broadway. At times we’d all be talking and Vinny what with his broken hand and all was talk-texting with his wife. “HOW-DO-YOU-FEEL,” he said loud and slow with his thick New York accent, like he’s teaching somebody English. Then he had me stand in front of the wine bottles as he took my picture. “FIRST-NASHVILLIAN-WE-MET. PAUL.” He was starting to grow on me.

“Say Paul tell me what you think a dis. Does this sound a little provocative to you?” He showed me the ad in the in-flight magazine he stole from the plane. The ad was all pink with a seductive looking woman on it for I think it was Aloft hotels. It did use words like “a world of possibilities” and “take a step forward” in its description. “Yeah Vin it does sound a bit suggestive I must say.” Him and Bob were getting all worked up about it.

“You better watch out if the lights get too low and you can’t see, you might wind up grabbing something you weren’t expecting and wind up in a sticky situation!” Bob burst into classic fat man with a hoodie laughter. “Hell as long as it feels good then what the hell you know?!” Vinny burst into classic mafioso laughter.

These good old boys were already having a blast and they hadn’t even been out of the airport yet. Besides the fact it appeared they were swingers, or at least wanted to be, they were nice enough dudes. I bid farewell to them as we had to close up shop, and off into the night they stumbled. At least downtown should be bright enough so Vinny could see, I thought.

 

 

A Shmuck is Born

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.