Traveling companions

The cool thing about traveling is that you meet people totally unlike yourself. That almost makes up for me sitting here waiting in Las Vegas for the flight that’s three hours after the connecting flight I almost made….

The Twins

On my flight from San Jose to Chicago, my seat assignment was a middle seat between two identical-twin sisters who were returning to Nashville from their first-ever modeling gig in the Bay Area.

It sounds like a lead-in to some male business-traveler fantasy, but it really wasn’t like that at all. I mean, my seat assignment was great news, but mainly because I hate middle seats, and I figured that since they obviously knew each other well, they wouldn’t mind giving me the aisle … I was right. 🙂

I felt a certain cultural distance from my row-mates. They were very Southern, very polite, said “Thank you *very* much” whenever the flight attendants gave them another baglet of pretzels. They were dressed identically. They had _huge_ hair, coiffed and frosted into imposing helmets. They read psalms most of the way. (I hope this doesn’t sound negative or rude – they were really nice people as I found out.)

It turns out that their twinness evokes constant comment, and people they’ve never met come up to them and talk as though they’ve known them for years. The twins like this.

The Casino Marketing Manager

While waiting for a delayed flight in Las Vegas, I chatted with a young woman on her way home to LV. I wondered aloud who casino marketing managers market to, and got what should have been the obvious answer: high rollers. Or in her words, “anyone who bets enough that we need to comp their rooms”.

How had she come to be a casino marketing manager in Las Vegas? By being a casino marketing manager on the gulf coast of Mississippi, until Katrina hit and shut everything down. So she was a refugee. I found out that gulf-coast Mississipians really hate New Orleans and all the attention it has gotten, since they feel that the storm hit them harder.

She gave me her card, and made it clear I should get in touch the next time I was in Las Vegas, if I was the kind of guy who liked to make $500 bets, and didn’t mind losing $15K to $20K over a weekend. I promised I would.

The Escorted Traveler

After making it almost to the front of a very long security line in Chicago, I became aware of a …. jurisdictional dispute behind me. A security person was saying “I don’t care if _your_ supervisor says it’s OK. You’re TSA. I’m not TSA, and I need *my* supervisor saying it’s OK for her to board.”

The “her” in question was in the company of two airport cops and another security-type person. Then a senior-looking TSA person showed up and said “It’s OK. I *know* she doesn’t have a boarding pass, *I’m* saying it’s OK!”. The whole party then jumped the security line right in front of me, and I heard comments to the cops like “So you’ll be escorting her on to the plane, right?” along with grumblings about the opposing security force and a determination to get their names and badge numbers.

After they cleared security and were walking away, one of the TSA guards nudged another one and said, in almost a hushed tone: “That’s *her*”.

OK, so what was the escorted woman’s deal? I have no idea. At first I assumed she was a prisoner being transported by law enforcement. But …. she was dressed in a business suit, seemed to be wearing a badge with a “Chicago Tribune” lanyard, and the cops and security people seemed oddly deferential to her. Anyone have a theory?

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