“If you see any suspicious behavior dial 911 or report it to the next TSA officer…” yells thru the loudspeakers. The words barely stick out of the Babylonian-like blurb of people chatting in the waiting area, kids crying and noisy squeaking wheels of carry-on luggage, and the nerve-killing peep, peep, peep of the electro-car that transports people to their gates.
The air smells like a mix of fries, popcorn and Starbucks coffee, Chinese food and has a note of septic system. Probably the baby crying at the gate has a leakage. At least, the Alaska Airline representative looks a bit disgusted when she hands back the boarding pass to the baby’s mom. While the mom rushes down the sky-walk, the Alaska Airline representative picks up the microphone. “We now invite all our first class passengers to board.”
The first class crowd moves in fast. They are profis – flying this route more times a year than they would love to. Some of them even know the names of the stewardesses’ kids. The lady at the boarding door switches the display to MVP members and picks up the microphone again. The signal-to-noise ratio is low and one barely hears her inviting the MVP members to board. I’m one of them. I stand up and go into the line, a long, long line. Air traffic is the way for Alaskans to reach the Lower 48s and the World and to come back home – North to Alaska.
“I know you,” drowns out a loud male voice somewhere from behind the boarding area. I turn my head around like everybody else, astonished that a human’s voice succeeds to be audible in the noise. Meanwhile the man arrives in the middle of the boarding area. He points at me and says “you are a dancer.”
If there had been a needle falling at that very instance, you would have heard it hitting the floor. Everybody had stopped chatting and looked at me. I smiled at the man and said “Yes, I am a dancer.” Half the crowd now looked away pretending they never looked or were not interested, while the other half looked puzzled, embarrassed or curious at us. The man said “I saw you dancing at the International Friendship day. What a beautiful waltz.”
“Thank you.” I answer. The noise picks up again with a lot of coughing and some giggling. I hand my boarding pass to the Alaska representative. The reader emits the red light, she returns the boarding pass “have a nice flight Carmen.” I board the plane greeting at least five familiar people who were already seated. I greet another ten when they pass my seat to get to their seats further back in the aisle. I had not seen them in the large crowd in the waiting area.
When you fly Seattle-Fairbanks or vice versa there are always 15 to 20 people you know on your plane. Seattle-Tacoma is Alaska’s front door to the world. Tweet this.
Photos: G. Kramm (2015)
Copyright 2013-2015 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved