Friday, June 11, 2010

Fellow Travelers

I love watching people travel. It's a fascinating state of the human condition and a free perk when traveling. I tend to think of myself as a relaxed, reserved and observant traveler but I'm sure other travelers have a category for people like me, maybe "creepy guy who won't stop staring at me" or "don't make eye contact". I have my categories because they make make it easier to dehumanize people and judge them, laugh at them or marvel at them with no guilt.

It's amazing to me how people tend to fall so easily into their categories. The guys with monogram cufflinks and bluetooth headset? Always speaking at top volume in a condescending voice to someone who's existence is questionable at best. The Southern guys with the polo shirt, wrap around shades and sunburn? Always smiling, always. What the fuck are you smiling about? You have painful looking sunburn. When this guy finally says something so riotously funny that he needs to flip his shades up and wipe away the tears of hilarity, he invariably has pure white circles around his eyes.

I really like the bohemian twenty somethings with the overpriced REI backpack, organic hats and sandals. They take traveling very seriously. I bet they never freeze their asses off when they get off a plane 800 miles to the North because they wore shorts and a t-shirt. Some travelers I kind of fear like the middle aged, tightly wound and slightly attractive business woman. She's smiling on the outside, but I get the idea that she would slice, skewer and feed me to the tiger she's hiding in her carry on if I even remotely got in her way. Then there's her opposite number: the over thirty, overweight and childishly dressed woman in the Pooh Bear sweatshirt. I call her the Chunky Brewster.

My favorites are the anomalies, the ones that I can't glibly file into a category and laugh at. These travelers are not the sweet old couple going wherever the hell they've always dreamed of or the college kids traveling together to some enviable, boozy destination, no these are the people who come to the airport in all of their quirky individuality. Which brings me to.......

My wife and I were in the Chicky & Pete's (I know) at the Philadelphia airport when a young African American traveler sidles up to the bar holding a very large, very sparkly silver cup with rhinestone (or diamond, who knows?) lettering. We dubbed him Pimp Cup. Pimp Cup proceeds to order a double Hennessy with ginger ale, which the bartender served him in a pint glass. He proceeded to pour it into his pimp cup. Amidst the giggles from the staff and wide eyed stares from the tourists and business class he leaned back, smiled and took a big sip.

I hope Pimp Cup had a great trip.


  1. Oddly enough, I too have the nickname 'Pimp Cup.' But for vastly different reasons...

  2. OMG! You must have met one of my coworkers cause they all fit the title "Chunky Brewster"