There's a(nother) bird in another airport

After being ushered down the hall in the A corridor, and pointed to a room, and after going down a narrow hallway, first bending right, then left and arriving in a small room, where I'm told "hold up" for the shuttle that will take me to the B gate, I wait.

The short ride on the shuttle bus tours the tarmac—the strip of casinos in the background—weaves around the the round exterior of gates, construction crews all around. It was short but strange, taking a shuttle bus with seven or so people (a soccer camp kid, a grandmother, an islander among the lot) was. When it arrived I thanked the driver, "just doing my job," her non reply indicated. Through a shoot, up some stairs and down another hallway, I was in the B gates wing. Sitting and standing, stretching and slot-machine watching, I notice something that's become sort of a regular happening for me, but one I find ironic and poetic. A simple sparrow does a lap around the round wing of the corridor before finally perching atop a gate's B-14 sign. How did a bird get into an airport, a deep dark corridor that took a shuttle and a series of mazes for me to arrive in. A bird in flight. A flight soon to be taken. Both sharing the excitement of something new.


Last year, after the summer games ended so did analog television. Coupons were advertised for converter boxes and if you wanted to watch free TV you needed to buy one. I bought a box around this time at Goodwill. It was a VCR. I'm not that out of date. I've had TV most of my life and cable on certain occasions. But for the most part I've gotten by on paying for electricity and positioning rabbit ears. I still do. For a reason I'm still not certain of, one channel still comes through the analog air waves and to my set. It is the CW. Five on the dial, though there is no dial on my TV. Yessir, Channel No. 5. Or as I'm referring to it, The Channel. Anything on The Channel? I ask. There always is. Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Life Unexpected, One Tree Hill. Seinfeld reruns. King of the Hill, all my shows on The Channel.


Wednesday was my day off and one of her first days of school. I wanted to sleep in but I normally don't so I woke and got up anyway. I silently did as she asked, put things into the car to take to her studio. I ate a bowl of cereal, put shoes on, put her bike in the trunk. When she said it was time to go I put my wallet in my pocket and my keys in my hand and my glasses on person. I waited for the next instruction. I didn't say anything. I waited for what was next.

Once we got going I had to tell her we needed gas, the car did rather. We said little as we drove first to get gas, and then downtown to her school. I parked the car in backwards and unloaded her bike, and then we took her things inside.

She calmed her nerves once we made it indoors. She returned her book and we were early for a presentation. She apologized for stressing. I said it was nothing. She showed me around the building. I had never seen the school. It was new and impressive. There was much to notice.

Still, there was time to kill so I suggested coffee. She doesn't drink coffee but agreed to accompany me. When we went to the car two badges were hovering--it was time to move the car from the loading zone, so I pulled out of the loading zone and around the block. I didn't have to work and she didn't have to be in a lecture for another half hour, so we drove a bit then stopped.

I pulled to the side of the road near a coffee shop I wanted to get a cup of coffee at, and she got out first to pay the meter. I pulled forward then back, to get the spot just right and noticed in my rearview a biker peddling the opposite direction. When I stepped out she had the parking receipt in her hand.

Did you hear him? she asked. She knew I hadn't. He told me you should be a meter-ologist.

And I said, what? I didn't get it at first. Then I did.

It was funny. How had he come up with it? It was stock, I thought, a re-run.