Monday, August 06, 2007

The Return I – 8:45 AM, LAX

Well technically, I’m on the tarmac, looking out at LAX from my miraculous window seat, but I did spend three hours in that damn airport to get here. I haven’t seen crowds or bad behaviour such as this even in Bangalore City Station. As for the announcements, I'm still not sure whether they were actually in any human tongue. The accents sounded like they would need surgery to fix.

Many of the people, though, were very familiar. The skin has that particular glow to it that says microdermabrasion, silk booster facials and vitamin injections. The hair has a healthy shine that comes from hair products about 75 times more expensive than Pantene. The jeans are frayed in that exact way that indicates they aren’t old, just cutting edge. There are also quite a few instances of killer heals, skintight shorts and carefully applied bronzer, 6 am notwithstanding. Hot pink laptop cases. Louis Vuitton luggage. Coach bags. Carry-ons that are unashamedly, fashionably bright gold. If the airport wasn’t so rundown and chaotic, it could have been Dubai. I ate breakfast in LAX, and don’t need to eat till I get to my first stop over, thereby foiling the evil airline poisoners.

I’m a bit lightheaded from lack of sleep, so everything around me is a sort of motion blur. My seat buddies aren’t helping. They struck up a conversation even before they sat down and haven’t stopped since. The first five minutes was credential establishment. Example: “Oh I love Spain”. “Yeah, I loved Spain. I’ve been back twice.” It’s amazing how saying you love something is a conversational weapon, even – or maybe especially – when you’re both loving the same thing. After “I loved my holiday more than yours”, they moved on to “My boat is older and more rugged than yours” and then “My craving for a motorcycle is greater than yours.” Just as they seemed to be stuck in stalemate, it emerged that Seat Buddy 1 is ex-army, so naturally Seat Buddy 2 conceded the manhood competition, and they’re now conversing normally about where they’re going and what they do. I, not being a man, have been spared. It was perfectly obvious from the first glance that the guy is ex-military (I noticed – and noted – him at the gate). But I’ve been released from the pressure of sitting next to someone so good-looking, since he turned out to be an idiot. Even if he wasn’t, I’m too sleepy to attempt being fascinating.

I think I’ll be asleep before we take off. I’ve forgotten where this plane is going. We change planes somewhere in the US before crossing the Atlantic, though the flight number remains the same. I believe that is what is meant by direct flight. I didn’t know till today that there’s a different between direct and nonstop. Maybe I should impart this fascinating bit of information to the hot soldier. Or maybe zzzzzzz scrrrr snort zzzzzz grunt zzzzz…

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