Summer Airport Notes

“Is this for drugs?” the guy who exited the metal detector frame at Charles de Gaulle Airport asks loudly in an American accent as he points at the security area. Um. Perhaps not the best question to demand an answer to from staff, judging by their facial expressions. Or the best wording. I go on my way.

It’s been another weekend trip through Hamburg and Paris airports. As usual, observations on human nature and additions to my list of travel practicalities are abundant.

Summer travel has always been wrapped in a special mood for me, be it a short getaway or a proper vacation. People aren’t burdened by coats or hats, most often the sun is shining, it’s easier to get around and that wonderful feeling of more time for everything due to longer days fills you up to the brim.

Two teenage girls walk ahead of me in the departure hall. One is trying to strut in what I suspect are currently very uncomfortable heeled sandals she’s been wearing for a while, judging by the many plasters on her feet, and the other is resolutely looking straight ahead while attempting to quickly tug down the hemline of a clingy skirt that just about covers her butt. I think that I will continue to never be that girl and hope she won’t be cold if she trusts herself to sit down, because I don’t see any leggings, just unevenly shaved bare legs. Both girls are lucky I’m just another quiet woman and not some creepy older man approaching them with unasked for advice.

Sandals are great and heels are fine, everyone makes their own footwear decisions. I’m sticking to my discounted black sneakers that I’ve actually become advanced enough to wear with a dress, my jeans (because you can always roll them up if you get hot during a journey, but you can’t roll down shorts, WISDOM) and the ubiquitous scarf you carry around with you after spending a few weeks in Hamburg (air conditioning can be a moody thing).

I stop by my usual shop to get a snack and see two women stop in front of the chocolate bars on display. English-accented conversation commences. “Oh. My God. What is that?” – “That’s a white chocolate KitKat. I love them.” – “Really? Wow! What do you think we should get? I suppose it depends on what you like. Wait. Oh. My God. What’s that? Is that also white chocolate? Oh. My God. I love white chocolate.” And so on.

Meanwhile, for the rest of us standing in line for some pastry, the guy behind the counter is conducting what he thinks is a show. I’ve seen it before on other trips when it was his shift. “Next please, the pretty lady. Yes, the others are pretty too.” More lines like this one follow as he serves the woman ahead of me. When my turn arrives, I get a bit more than I bargained for. “You may gladly become my wife if you’re single. What, you want your order to go? What a shame. But here’s my number on the receipt, you can find me here.” Everyone in line is both a bit perplexed and laughing, myself included, though I leave without saying anything.

The man next to me on the plane dozes off and as often happens you can’t quite avoid not brushing your arm against someone else. We’re both wearing shirts with short sleeves, since it’s summer (see above). The only difference is that his arms are covered with coarse hairs that stand upright and unfortunately even the very brief contact with my skin makes the spot itch. Ew. But at least his head didn’t roll over on my shoulder when he fell asleep.

More importantly, when drinks were served on the plane, my favorite phrase, “Je voudrais un chocolat chaud, s’il vous plait” went down without a hitch.

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