One Hour in the Airport: A Nightclub Experience

One Hour in an AirportMost people whinge about the time they’re forced to wait in an airport terminal prior to boarding. But an airport terminal should be a more appreciated place. I would even argue a place where someone not flying would hope to spend some leisure time. Think about it, the airport terminal has all the trappings of a popular New York City club: security checkpoints, one of the few places in the world where people commit to buying a bottle of liquor, and a great place for star sightings. Additionally, the only time death tolls that aren’t mass murders are ever paid any attention to is when they happen in a nightclub with inadequate emergency exits or when a plane crashes (and the big ones always begin at airport terminals).


I actually hate clubs, but I do enjoy the pre-flight ritual for a number of reasons. It gives me time to read, and for some reason I’m impressed when an airport carries some foodstuff that would, in the outside world, only be elevated to back-up-plan-status, like a Moe’s burrito joint, had all the real restaurants or legit burrito spots closed.


But on a recent trip to JFK, there wasn’t any time to read or any recognizable restaurants, yet I still I had quite an interesting morning.


One Hour in the Airport


After passing through security and taking an empty seat next to an older man trying to get his shoes back on, I looked over at the man and realized that I had plopped myself down next to Elliot Gould. I don’t really enjoy talking to famous people, which is pretty much what every person who secretly wants to talk to stars says, but my reason is simple: I once told a famous singer that I was a fan of his music and then the encounter ended before I could list the caveats. Now he probably thinks that all of his music was great, even tracks 8 through 13. But tracks 8 through 13 were awful. So in a way, I would feel somewhat responsible if he were to produce another album with the garbage that totally sucked. And that’s why I don’t like talking to stars. Because I gave one star a reason to produce more tracks like 8 to 13.


But I liked Elliot Gould as Monica and Ross’s candid, loopy father on Friends and I was a fan of his current project, Ray Donovan. We made eye contact. He smiled and words just came out of my mouth because it was too early in the morning to smile back. “Have you started filming season three?”


“Just started,” he said, but added for the sake of clarification “Ray Donovan?”


We engaged in some small talk about why Gould was in New York–for some SNL 40 shoot–and he asked me if I were heading to Los Angeles. (I wasn’t.) Our brief encounter ended pleasantly and I was glad to say that I hadn’t inspired Elliot Gould to revisit any bad films. I walked off to find my gate.


“What time is your flight?” some guy shouted at me from a pretty decent distance. There weren’t many people in the terminal and it was pretty obvious that he was talking to me.


I told him the time and started to move toward my intended destination: the bathroom.


“Join me in the Admirals Club,” he said. “It’s all the food you can eat. And I get to bring a guest.”


It’s not often that I’m asked to join someone in the VIP section of a club or an airport, but the bathroom was calling and I didn’t think it was fair of me to suggest that this man, who invited me to the Admiral’s Club, wait until I tended to my affairs. (My wife pointed out that the Admiral’s Club probably had a restroom, a fact that I had overlooked when I opted for my urinated-upon seat.) But I was also stuffed from my breakfast and I didn’t want to ruin my appetite in the event that the airplane food happened to be catered by a Michelin Star Restaurant. (Turns out it was catered by air, keeping people insatiable since the beginning of time.)


After the restroom, I took a seat at my gate and opened my book when a Homeland Security agent with a canine on a leash had his dog sniff the chairs in the area. The dog was pretty reluctant to offer his nose to any one chair for too long, but then he got to this man a few seats down from me who looked to be waking or sobering up. The dog sniffed his pants’ leg and wouldn’t relent. The man did not move. The agent pulled the leash and then tossed some toy ball that apparently worked to call off the dog.


And after one hour in the airport, the flight boarded and I was forced to leave the excitement of terminal life. I’m flying in a few weeks, so I’m sure I’ll be able to catch up on whatever I missed regarding the man’s odorous cuffs in next month’s JFK Weekly.

Posted on by Noah Lederman in Lost In Translation, Or Bust

2 Responses to One Hour in the Airport: A Nightclub Experience

  1. Rob Ross

    Noah, one of Benny’s friends was over the house about a week ago and said to me, “You know, you look kind of like Ross and Monica’s dad on Friends……but better”. I was so glad when she added “but better” (I have seen Mr. Gould often in our local Whole Foods)…..great piece of writing as usual…

    • Noah Lederman

      That certainly is a compliment, Rob Ross, as Whole Foods keeps Mr. Gould a very fit and handsome young man, especially in his Mr. Geller days.

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