Something so poignant about the end of a convention, something touching in a way you can’t put your finger on. Empty lobbies, empty cab lines, the long line at security at the airport, with people, especially cameramen, slackjawed with fatigue. At Delta check-in a couple had two huge bags open on the floor, their personal contents spilling out as they tore through trying to remove items to make the airline weight limit. What we saw in the bags: wine bottles, magazines, newspapers from the convention, underwear, swag, swag swag. The people on line made loud sighs. A delegate with a wheely breezed by and said, “If you remove the newspapers you save, like, seven pounds.” Everyone wanted to keep the history of where they were.
At security, in the magnetometer, the woman who told me to stand with my arms above my head said, when I got through, “You’re all tired.” I said, “It’s true.” She was sixty-ish, short reddish hair, hearty. She said, “I know you. You still writing?”
I said, “Still doing it after all these years,” and I touched her arm and we smiled.
“Well I watch you. Doin’ good,” she said, encouragingly.
Now I’m in the Delta lounge, where an attractive and chicly dressed but loud young woman is holding conference calls. Her tone is warm but…imperious. She’s getting the people on the other end of the line to give her “the numbers.” I wonder what I always wonder when I witness moments like this. Should I tell her?
She doesn’t care that the dozen or so of us in the lounge all can hear her, that we all, in fact, are forced to listen to her. And we don’t want to hear her conference call, nor witness how she manipulates the people on the other end of the conversation. Should I tell her that, like so many in her generation, she has boundary problems? She doesn’t understand that there is her and her body and her space, and then there is us and our bodies, and our space doesn’t really want to be invaded by her space. I’m not sure I’m being clear, but people in their 20s and 30s now often don’t have a tidy sense of their space and your space, and how your space doesn’t wish to be violated by theirs. They think everyone wants to listen to them. They think everyone is lucky to listen to them. We might learn something.
She just vigorously snapped up her MacBook, and strode away. In a second I will make eye contact with the other people in the lounge and give them the look we give.