So i went to my first day* of work** today. apart from being severely faded on walgreens-brand sudafed for the entire day, i feel like it went pretty well. if i haven’t given you a precise explanation of my new non-permanent career in helping minors get lost and/or kidnapped at o’hare airport, let me give you the rundown. my job is to go the airport and talk my way behind security, and then meet these kids who are either getting back or going to foreign countries, presumably for student exchange type shit. i then conduct them to their connecting flight, then i do this one or two more times, then i go home. for a laugh, let’s look at today:
show up at airport, more or less on time. spend an hour convincing united airlines counter agents that they should issue me security clearance, which they eventually do, based on the following facts:
i have a clipboard
i have a mangled sheet of paper with the names of three united passengers and their flights
i get someone outside the airport to fax something on letterhead to the united office that is (i have the fax) just a form letter saying that the sender of the fax (name of the company, which i feel no need to share until i get arrested as a result of this job) would like the reader (united airlines person) to let the bearer (me) through the security check.
get security clearance pass. to be fair, i was x-rayed and forced to take off my belt and shit, so it’s not like i could have brought US air traffic to its knees. i was going to shop at duty free just for the shit of it but at ORD they don’t even let you into to duty free without a boarding pass that says you’re bound for foreign soil, or something like foreign soil.
spent 45 minutes lurking at gate B16 looking for what appear to be unaccompanied minors. see very few people matching this description. i worked up the audicity to actually ask three women if they were (name of person i was allegedly helping). they were not. i asked the creepy german lady behind the counter to page her. creepy german complied, but mispronounced the name in such a way that if i was that person and i heard that noise, i would have no reason to think that the noise was not only intended to get my attention but that the noise consisted primarily of my own name. get frustrated. consider leaving. consider calling to berate person who hired me for this job, with the keynotes of the beratement being the brain-liquefying halfassed nature of the job (in this case, find someone who already got to this airport by themselves and ask them if they are still planning on getting on their connecting flight.) consider buying Da Vinci Code and reading it on spot, just to see, extremely belatedly, what the fucking big deal is.
Instead, I just eyeball germans (this flight is going to frankfurt) who are in turn eyeballing electronically (like with cameras) their own german babies, who are in turn running into payphones. i have a longstanding theory about babies which is that while cute, most of them are covered in food-related germs, or in some extreme situations, lethal disease-related germs, and that also (this is a corollary i guess) these babies want to put the germs on my person. so, what i’m getting around to is that i was surrounded by filthy babies and it made me uncomfortable. eventually i decided to have the much less creepy effeminate bald man at the counter page the person i was looking for, and he played it the right way, just paging “Passenger (Easy to Hear and Say English-Extraction Last Name) Come to the Counter”. at which point a middle aged bald man came to the counter. but it turned out that this was the person i was looking for’s dad, and there was no reason for me to be there at all, because one of her parents was actually flying with her. so that was a great first step. my next idea was to buy a magazine and waste time, not realizing that you can’t actually get to the international terminal of o’hare without leaving and reentering security checks.
have been waiting at the Kiss and Ride*** gate in terminal 5 for one hour waiting for a british airlines flight with two people i am supposed to find on it. i am holding a piece of paper that i wrote their names on up in the air. around me, lots of people with hilarious accents are being reunited with people with similar accents. i am not even inside the concourse actually, i’m probably 25 steps away from the parking lot. my only hope is that i can intercept both people while they walk from the customs door exit to the escalator that leads to the airport tram back to terminal one, where they are both leaving from. i have thus fucked myself because i determind, just by sort of taking the visual pulse of the International ticketing area, that i was not, not going to be able to get through with my previous clipboard-and-fake-looking-fax routine (actual qutoe from guy i work for: “usually, the t-shirt [which i refuse to wear on principle] and the clipboard are enough to convince people”.) it turns out that i should have tried to get behind security, because i couldn’t find either one of the two kids i was supposed to find. this is either because my sign wasn’t big enough, or they came through while i was reading the Atlantic Monthly in a drug fugue in the corner. so what i got for my trip to the International terminal (which meant i forfeited my security access to terminal one) was an hour of listening to these three dorks next to me talk about how excited they were to see their friend (no shit!) which was punctuated by the girl dork singing random bits of a capella arrangements. there was something mildly vindicated in having someone i made for a dork immediately be revealed as the kind of person who thinks singing in a weirdly accomplished way unprovoked in public is OK or possibly even more than OK. this builds into a larger pattern of thinking that people in a capella groups are wankers.
i have ridden the airport train back to terminal one and gotten myself security clearance again. this time it was actually weirdly easy. which is good, because i have no idea where either one of these kids is, and both of their flights are leaving in less than 15 minutes. and also i have to take an underground tunnel to concourse C to get to their gates. so i run (remember that i am on medication because my sinuses and lungs are trying to escape through my mouth) through the gates for a while, which has the end result of me not seeing either one of the kids, but finding out that they both somehow got on the plane. so i left.
*it was like six hours? if you count travel time, maybe closer to 8. i was drugged, so it doesn’t pay to take my word for it. it wasn’t that big of a deal. if i had stuck around
** i would particularly stress the non-permanent, non-me-taking-it-seriously aspect of the job. which is sort of a negative indicator, considering that at least i run a serious risk of getting kids stuck at o’hare for periods of time and at worst they will somehow wind up frozen to death in the landing gear trying to sneak back to their homeland or something.
*** i guess it’s not really the kiss and ride gate- that’s for departures. so i guess this is the kiss and continue to kiss gate?
personal to steve: do you still have the actual document that heralded the creation of the nazi
dogdirt patrol? you better
another personal to tessa: do you have that picture of the stencil of crispin glover’s head that i made you take? are you ever going to give it to me. important research needs to be done