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Published: September 4th 2012
Airports are lovely petrie dishes of diversity. People watching is one of my favorite pasttimes, yet I so easily forget that the airport is one of the most interesting places to people watch in! Going to Boston I saw a few very stereotypical-looking Boston natives on their way home, proudly wearing their Redsox gear. I saw a few nicely-dressed hair-parted men over 6 ft. looking like they'd be returning from a business trip. Then of course there are the adorable little kids strapped into various gadgets who wave and coo at you while you exchange pleasant knowing smiles with their parents. All that was almost old hat to me. International departure gates, however, pose a whole new world—literally? But in a very good way! I joked with an Irish woman and her daughter in line for security about the instructional hologram that was explaining security procedure. Near the gate, I saw all kinds of people again, a tall skinny model in all black with a shaved head and high heels. A pair of Irish jocks in their green and yellow jerseys, holding clubs of some sort fro a game I've never heard of. All Ireland-bound along with little old me!
I scarfed down my Sbarro dinner of baked ziti with chicken (I was starving; hadn't been able to eat much before Boston, I was too excited), and got on the largest plane I've ever seen in my life. 8 seats across—8! They talk about airbuses, well this was like a double decker combined with another double decker if I've ever been on an airbus (I have). It was equipped with a well-oiled army of smiling green-suited Irish flight attendants. Each seat had a TV screen. I kept mine off the entire time, but ended up sneaking a few minutes of The Hunger Games movie from my neighbor's TV—an Irish college student who was returning home from Texas. I mainly wanted to read and/or sleep. I did keep my Ipod on for much of the time though, since it usually helps me relax. I didn't end up sleeping one bit. Looking back, I'm surprised that I even thought I had a shot at falling asleep. Let's think about this: an undiagnosed insomniac falling asleep at 9:30pm on an airplane on the day she goes to Ireland alone? I sometimes shock myself with my own optimism. But then again, crazy things have been happening lately—like blue moons and taking off from work.
I met my seat neighbor to the other side, Peter, from Maine. A sun-spotted, smiley older golfer about 70, heading to Ireland's Westport golfing delights. He offered me his brownies from the dinner they served. I pretended to be asleep with they served dinner; I felt like I'd jst eaten and was reminded of hospital food from the smell of the dinner carts. We had a shockingly smooth landing for such a massive plane; Peter called the pilot a magician. And there I was, in Ireland!
I collected my second passport stamp ever and waited for my bag at the conveyer belt. Two little green metal boxes kept going around and around as I waited, keeping me amused. One said, 'John likes IKEA furniture' and the other, 'John is not okay.' After about 30 minutes of waiting,my suitcase appeared and I set out for the practicalities. By then I hadn't slept in 15 hours or so, and I was trying to be careful and deliberate about where I was putting things. I caught a bus to Limerick with a very nice bus driver, who made a special stop for me since I told him where I was going. I arrived in Limerick and the sunshine soon followed me.
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