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Abandoned For Good - Flights to Panama

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Written by Matt   
Wednesday, 12 November 2008 19:04
Flights to PanamaFlights to Panama are generally straightforward and incident-free which is how FTA employees like it. Recently on my way to Panama, try due to several flight changes, I was lucky enough to spend somewhere around ten hours in the Miami International Airport during which I had nothing better to do than write. I rarely write anything that's not directly related to Panama, ailment and I try to never publish anything that's not interesting: this article would be an exception to both of those rules.  10:05AM
I enter the bathroom just inside the Miami airport and notice immediately that the only sign translated into Spanish, amongst several in the bathroom, is the one for the ‘flush' button just above the toilet seat. "Bajar el excusado" it reads, which translates to, "Let down the excused." I find the sign almost spiritual in its translation, like something that might come from the mouth of an old wise man. I giggle as I pee.

I approach the airport's security checkpoint and am asked to step aside as the metal detector operator has identified something in my bag. A young black woman with the nametag La Quisha directs me "ova dea" to a small room where she pats me down, then inspects my backpack thoroughly while chewing on a Twizzler and breathing heavily. Upon completing inspection, she recommends I keep my personal things organized better.

Waiting in line for a hotdog, a young girl, probably traveling for the first time, opens her bag and pulls out a real-life safe the size of a shoebox, which has a coded padlock and steel reinforced corners. She opens the box, pulls out three dollars, closes the box, scrambles the padlock numbers using her hand as a shield, then buys a hot dog and leaves.

After eating my own hotdog, I go on to experience extraordinary gas. As opposed to the controllable kind one can, say, let out subtly in a bathroom stall, this is the unrestrained sniper strain that is neither predictable nor humanly bearable. I find myself a large empty seating area in the corner, about ten rows deep, and proceed to unleash bomb after bomb -- the kind of smell that could, if marketed correctly, be sold as a defense weapon. Happy with my decision I smile ear to ear. Amidst the bombing, the entire LSU women's volleyball team (en route to a tournament) decides to set up shop in my airspace. I decide to leave promptly hearing guttural moans only off in the distance.

A chubby woman wearing a Winnie the Pooh top and Key West monogrammed pants answers a cell phone behind my seat. "How yous doin?" she asks the person on the other end. "Boy I hate airports, all them children yellin and heavin. And the parents don't do anything for em! It's like the pollution for your car, but it's noise!" I neglect to remind her that she has the manners of a feral pig.

Preparing to pay for some sushi, the young cashier boy, looks to be from the hood, peers into my tray of nigiri and asks me "what all is in there?" As if going through a rehearsed set of steps, the boy then picks up a set of chopsticks. "Would you like..." the boy says. "Some of these? Would you like some of these?" Like a quiz, I ask him what one might call them and, smiling, he guesses they are called "food sticks. Either that or just ‘sticks'?"

Upon eating my sushi, I monitor a very tired looking man as he walks directly into the women's bathroom. I could have stopped him but preferred to sit and type on my computer. He stayed in there for quite a while, presumably in a stall. I envisioned him seeing stilettos from under the walls and freaking out. Unless I missed it or he emerged dressed as a woman, the man never came it out.  

A nicely dressed man of about fifty walks past me. He is wearing khakis, dark loafers, and a blue herringbone button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the elbow. Only thing is, one sleeve has nothing coming out of it. He is missing an arm. He was also considerate enough to roll up the arm-less sleeve of for kicks. I don't know if its because I've always associated paraplegics with poor style, but the man fascinates me and I move positioning two gates down just to be near him.

He moves as my recurring farts are excruciating.

Out of the corner of my eye I think I see an animal which turns out to be a Seeing Eye dog leading a blind woman and two of her children (not blind). The dog is by far the smallest Seeing Eye dog I've ever seen in an airport or not (like a cross between a Welsh Corgy and a small wolf) and could probably fit it in my backpack (which is now well-organized). Passing the Seeing Eye family is an older gentleman with airport personnel tags riding, not a golf cart nor one of those silly Segway motion machines. No. The man is riding an airport-issued beach cruiser - a retro bicycle with training wheels on the back and an oversized basket in the front. A woman with large cowboy boots in a glittery jumpsuit falls to the floor and starts having a seizure affront the magazine stand: the blind woman, her kids, the mini Seeing Eye dog, and the beach cruiser man are the first on the scene like a synchronized team of undercover medics. I feel guilty for just observing but am shocked beyond paralysis.

A fat woman is running to catch a flight. She removes her flip-flops figuring she can cover more ground by running barefoot. I would have done the same thing. But I'm not fat. Ten steps into her run, she trips. I laugh and hand her a flip-flop, which landed by my foot. She is appreciative but in pain.

I take one last lap around the airport and count exactly how long it takes me to walk from the baggage claim to the overpriced bookstore (on the other side of the building). I have a weird habit at airports of mistaking everyday people for celebrities. During my walk, I saw Kanye West, Joan Rivers, and Mr. Rogers all hanging out in the smoking area, which looks like an experimental chamber with live trees and no roof, much like an exhibit at an aquarium: only here, the animals smell worse and die sooner.  

My flight to Panama is finally boarding and I'm standing in line when I notice I've been present for three full shifts of Manchurian Wok employees. Just as I sigh, over the loudspeaker a "passenger Bagel is requested at Gate 34." That's my gate. And I love bagels. It's amazing what entertains you when desperation sets in. Just as I pass through the doorway to the plane, Mr. Bagel shows up and he is panting like an out-of-shape Olympic runner, beads of sweat running down his face and a crumpled bag of Lays trying to escape his coat pocket: if only Mr. Bagel's visit to Miami International was as inspiring as mine.

Comments (1)Add Comment
hoteles en Panamá
written by Jorge , October 01, 2009
I flight to Panama very often. I always buy my air tickets and hotel in Panama in I've never had any problem... seems like you were not very lucky!!
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