Gray and Oblivious: The Face of Tourism

A man of unclear Middle Eastern descent demands with a simultaneous mix of certainty and uncertainty, “Excuse me sir, are you priority or not a priority?” Days earlier, I had cut six inches off of my hair which no one seemed to notice as it had been past my tits. No one, that is, except a particular sect. For now that it was just above shoulder-length, I could only assume all men in search of the feminine ideal (particularly of the misogynistic Middle Eastern variety) would simply view me as too mannish, hence the unexpected yet expected use of this addressment as “sir.”

Though I knew his English was shoddy and he likely wouldn’t get my humor, I still responded dryly, “No I’m not a priority.” He had no sense of the droll and said simply, “Okay then I will need you to go over there to check your bag,” directing me in the area of the other misshapen plebes, who seemed to be blithely immune to their hideous lot in life. The type of lot that forced them to travel commercial. And how did so many ugly and old people manage to make enough money to take trips? Where was the built-in prejudice for hiring based on looks as opposed to ability anymore?

As I fumbled to grab the handle of my rolling suitcase and get myself to the designated section for simps, I accidentally body checked an old woman with the quintessential white shade/shortly cropped coif. I could feel the stink of age come off of her as I did so, as though the slightest poking could make death ooze out of her pores. As I apologized and tried to hurry away, the man who had addressed me as “sir” called out, “Not that way, the other!” The old woman who reeked of a corpse took this as her opportunity for retribution, adding, “Can’t you see the sign? NO ENTRY.” What a fucking dumb cunt, making me out to be the retard in the situation. Just because I hadn’t bowed down to her age, to the unspoken rule about reverence for the old, particularly in Europe where the olds ran rampant, refusing to give up their reign. Maybe the lack of sighting them in America stemmed from olds enjoying being “encased” in things all the time–whether cars or rest homes or hospitals. You just didn’t see them so pervasively out. It took all of my restraint not to smack her upside the jowel for her insolence toward me, all because she perceived me as having not been obsequious enough in her precious vicinity. But, as per usual, I gulped down my contempt with the same resigned fervor as an Ethiopian child taking a drink of clean water where it could find it (which was nowhere, but you catch the drift).

I didn’t have time to be bogged down by my rage, though I could feel the mild bubbling of my blood, which I kept to a simmer as opposed to a boil in order to get to the suitcase dropoff in a timely fashion. The DIY nature of airlines at this point in time was practically a satire rather than an assured comedy of errors. It was thus that the tag printed by the machine ended up spitting out the wrong airport code. While I was bound for Dublin, the airline seemed to think I should be going to Budapest. Which, of course, I wouldn’t be opposed to–both weather conditions were equally as non-tantalizing–but unfortunately I had a commitment I simply couldn’t evade: the wedding of my sister, who had seen fit to marry an Irishman certainly not for his dick size or erection propensities, but because he was “kind.” Sure. But also rich. A descendant of the Guinness family she had managed to accidentally charm while drunk at The Porterhouse Central, a stone’s throw from Merrion Square, where she had tried her best to take in the sight of the Oscar Wilde Memorial, but was too offput by the density of Asian tourists who she knew for a fact had never so much as even read a line from The Picture of Dorian Gray or The Importance of Being Earnest. They just wanted their goddamn photo. As a result, she couldn’t get hers. It was then that she meandered over to the environs that led her into The Porterhouse, where she proceeded to get blind drunk and captivate the usually unflappable Irishman that was to become her husband. So, in some way, she does have the stupidity of humanity to thank for her good fortune. I, in turn, had many people to blame for my bad one as I tried desperately to commune with a real live being in order to correct the misprint on my baggage claim ticket.

I shoved and pushed my way through the cud-chewing hordes to get to a desk that featured a bureaucratic-in-non-plussedness employee, who served more as prop than as actual functionary or go-between. And, to further compound the nature of commercial travel as rendered in the twenty-first century being the worst invention of all-time, there was no sense of any one person being more important than the other. We were all equals in our non-importantness. Our “non-priority” status, if you will (even for those who actually shelled out the extra cash to tell themselves they were buying into a more elite tier).

To add to my vexation and stress level, the old bag who had berated me for my “incompetence” in not seeing the no entry sign solely because I was too busy attempting to form words to apologize to her decrepit ass for running into her on accident materialized once more. With her puppet of a husband, who channeled the vibe of being tantamount to a parrot who sat perched on her shoulder. I prayed she would be too senile to recognize me from before, but she took no mercy upon me and my still youthful state, pointing her hideous and cumbersome cane at me to shout, “There she is, trying to cut ahead again.”

Everyone turned to me at that moment, as though to see if the old bag’s appraisal of my persona as an entitled millennial was accurate. They all seemed to agree, as the majority of the line appeared to be from a generation that could tell you tales of tying two tin cans together with a string to communicate. I was outnumbered, cornered. About to be tarred and feathered for my audacity in trying to display any sense of urgency about both my defective luggage tag and its hindering of my ability to get to my gate in a timely fashion.

And as I looked upon the sea of gray oblivion in front of me, I yearned for a Sandman like Logan to enforce the death of all people at the age of twenty-one. At least then, I, too, would be dead.

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