You Ain’t Even a Waitress in the Sky


It’s been a couple of days since I posted, sorry. I’ve been out of town on business and swamped with those exigencies — I would still like to note the situation when I left. Presented here: the best reconstruction I can manage of the actual conversation between me and the woman working the counter at BWI Monday morning.

Delta: May I help you?
Me: I hope so, ma’am. How are you doing this morning?
Unsaid: Don’t feel bad when I charm you. Happens to everyone.

Delta: May I help you?
Me: I hope so, ma’am. I’m in the process of missing my flight.
Unsaid: And have been for almost half an hour while you took care of two people in line in front of me. But okay, so all that small talk for the last while was out of character, and we’re going to get down to brass tacks. I’m figuratively if not actually on board.

Delta: What flight?
Me: Charlotte, by way of Atlanta, ma’am.
Unsaid: You know, the one I tried to check in for at the electronic kiosk, 28 minutes before it was set to leave. But the kiosk shuts down 30 minutes in advance, so I spent this entire time waiting for you. Lucky me.

Delta: You’re not in the process of missing that flight, you’ve missed it.
Me: Thank you, ma’am. That seems to be the situation. I wonder whether you can think of any options I might have?
Unsaid: I have brown eyes. The ceilings are tall in this place. You are wearing a blue Delta uniform. It’s sunny outside. People don’t like airports. What else would you like to point out upon which we can instantly agree?

Delta: One option would be to leave earlier for the airport.
Me: Yes, thank you, ma’am. I’m talking about perhaps getting on a different airplane.
Unsaid: Another option might be to see how far I could knock your dentures down your throat. I left home almost two and a half hours ago to get here on time, but I forgot about the idiots that Maryland trains to make sure no one else wants to use their roads. I didn’t know they had a special program for populating the airline counters, too.

Delta: Checking …
Me: Thank you very much, ma’am.
Unsaid: Better not put me on anything boarding within the hour, if the efficiency I’ve observed in you up to now holds steady. I’d probably miss that one, too. When people say “sense of urgency,” they’re not asking you to panic — they’re just asking you to understand that there are situations in which time matters. Right?

Delta: (apparently finding an opening in the computer) Do you still want to go today?
Me: (casually) Well, my bag is packed and I’m here, so I might as well. Think that’s possible?
Unsaid: I just figured this out. You know you work in a place where no one is allowed to bring in weapons.

Delta: (chuckling) Okay, then. We have what we call same-day confirmed, so that’ll just be $50.
Me: I could have made this flight. This is a great airport for sailing through the security line [which is true], so any chance you could waive the change fee?
Unsaid: I didn’t miss my flight, bitch. You missed my flight.

Delta: That’s not as good an option as getting to the airport earlier.
Me: Let’s put it on this card, please, ma’am.
Unsaid: Let’s let go of the early shit, please. There are very few feelings as horrible as sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic while you know that an inexorable airplane is getting set to depart. If you insist on provoking my PTSD, I will not be responsible for the consequences. Either there were a surprising number of people on their way to Baltimore-Washington International Airport this morning, which I doubt, or there were an unsurprising number of idiots driving the roads of Maryland, of which I’d be easily convinced.

Delta: Has anyone put anything in your luggage without your knowledge?
Me: I believe I’ve been on guard. If anyone put anything in my luggage without my knowledge, though, I wouldn’t know the answer to that question.
Unsaid: Sweet jeebus … you accepted that answer?! I read that on the Internet, thought it was funny, and I can’t fucking believe I just said it to a ticket agent. Get yourself under control, Alan. Before Homeland Security hauls you away.

Delta: You’re all set on the 11:00 to Atlanta, sir. [my original flight was for 8:30 and I’d left my house at 6:10]
Me: Thank you, ma’am. You’re the first thing that’s gone right today.
Unsaid: What are these words coming out of my mouth? Am I just trying to make sure she’s nice to the next “me” that comes along? **headshake**

You, Sir. Please decide whether you will check your bag before you arrive at the front of the line, and regardless of that decision, please do not change clothes in front of all of us.

I’m not sorry for anything that crossed my mind during the conversation, but I’m always careful to be polite. I don’t think it’s unfair that I didn’t reflect her thoughts … because I don’t think there were any. My best guess for her internal monologue in the above would be a repeatedly copy/pasted “Buuuh … *drool*.”

It’s only 350 miles to Charlotte. Next time they want me there, I think I’ll just drive.

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3 Responses to You Ain’t Even a Waitress in the Sky

  1. pithypants says:

    Wow. I’m going to guess she caught her spouse in bed with a farm animal that morning. Because I’m sure that Delta doesn’t otherwise employ customer-facing people who not only lack empathy but are skilled at escalating hostility.

  2. Lucas says:

    Is this patience that you’ve acquired able to be taught? I would have lost my mind and choked her. Airport security would have been called on roughly the 3rd line from her. And I would have been smiling all the way to wherever they take people who do that type of thing.

    • popdialectic says:

      I catch flies with honey, Grasshopper – seven with one blow, once. I love the idea of a silly grin while getting hauled away by airport security, though. Very tempting.

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