Thursday, August 26, 2004

Airport Run

My friend Jen flew into town today for a nice 4-day weekend visit. She booked the first United flight of the day into San Francisco. When she first told me she was coming, she mentioned that fact and apologized earnestly if it was going to be an inconvenience. I told her it wouldn't be. She asked if I was sure, thinking, I assume, that I was just being polite. I told her it would be my pleasure. I wasn't lying. It would be.

SFO is a locus of crossing paths and chance meetings. It's a way-station for a vast contingent of businesspeople from around the Pacific Rim as well as across the globe. It plays temporary host to a whole assortment of travelers--with plans as varied as their life stories--who, with little make-up, not unconvincingly resemble more than one or two of the alien characters from the cantina scene in the first Star Wars. In fact, that may be the best way to picture San Francisco International Airport without the use of a video camera and 15,000 words: it's a living, breathing, ever-changing version of the Star Wars cantina. You think I'm kidding, but a couple years ago during Thanksgiving weekend I'm almost 100% sure that I saw the blue keyboard-playing aardvark-looking dude eating chowder out of a breadbowl at the CrabPot just inside Terminal 3.

So naturally, who--or rather, what--is the first person I see as I come off the escalator that connects the walkway from the parking garage to the baggage claim area? Well, I don't know exactly. I'm not a biologist. I'm pretty sure it/he is a Man, but there is a good chance that he is representative of a distinct, recently-classified sub-species of the genus Homo named Homo reallyerectus fireislandia.

A gawkish, heroin-thin kid (maybe 20, 21), his beady brown eyes were set a little close together and deep into his head like a cross between Ted Danson and a corpse. His face was covered with freckles--not your normal red-headed Annie freckles though. He looked like he stood behind a screen door during a diarrhea fight. His eyes were partially obscured by foppish, blazing red curls that spilled out from underneath an ill-fitting Zebra-patterned Brett Michaels Every Rose Has Its Thorn cowboy hat (

He wore a tight-fitting white Filipino wedding shirt ( unbuttoned 3/4 of the way down. Exposing his diarrhea-freckled chest in a shallow 'V,' the shirt was open to just below the concave area between his solar plexus and the top of his shockingly defined abs that is formed by an eating disorder during 4 torturous, misunderstood years in high school and a subsequent and dedicated cocaine addiction during his abortive stint at art school.

I spotted him from a pretty considerable distance--as he was coming off the escalator that fed arriving passengers from the terminal down to baggage claim and then on to either the taxi stand or the parking garage. I had just hopped off the escalator from the parking garage and was making my way to the United arrivals board. What caught my eye first--besides that ridiculous fucking cowboy hat--was the long, lucid strides he was taking as he made his way toward me. He walked with a loping, almost non-jointed ease that seemed impossible without the assistance of a cocktail of banned narcotics. Moreover, he spilled toward me in a pair of skin-tight, low-rise, bell-bottom jeans that--but for the filthy mustard yellow pumas he had on his feet--made it look like his lower body was being swallowed and digested by a bifurcated denim boa constrictor.

He came off the escalator, I noticed, with no luggage. Nothing. No hand luggage. Not a backpack, not a messenger bag, not any sort of recycled and/or hemp-derived protest literature receptacle. Well, obviously, he didn't look like he was employed by any entity at SFO--unless Ringling Brothers bought the Dirty Hippy Circus between now and the last time I was there and leased performance space in Terminal 3 between the See's Candies stand and that piss-ass bar/cafe with the $14 double bloodies specials--so I was somewhat at a loss to explain his presence in baggage claim.

Then we crossed paths. I came upon him just as I turned the corner from the United arrivals board. As he oozed past me, it came together. I caught the distinct aroma of Bacardi and his cologne: Aux de M4MCraigslistCasualEncounter ( The scent of urinal cakes and glory holes was unmistakable.

I was truly at a loss for words. Seeing one of these specimen immediately post-anonymous-coitus is akin to stumbling upon a family of snow leopards in the wild. I didn't know what to do...until he tripped. Over a baggage claim carousel. That's when I laughed, pointed, and pulled out my notebook.


Blogger NP said...

Note to Commentors: I KNOW this wasn't as good as my last post there is no need to mention it in your comments. I think everyone will agree with you. Just, please, accept this as a little window into SFO--and that's all.

August 30, 2004 at 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was awe inspiring.

August 30, 2004 at 9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

San Francisco is the fictional headquarters of the United Federation of Planets in another Sci-Fi series known as Star Trek.

You definitely zero in on the look/feel of the place when you call it the Cantina. About the alien boytoy from Total Recall, that is just plain disturbing.

August 30, 2004 at 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NP -- one of the things I like about your writing is you vary the topic. This may have been a better post than the MSBP or it may not have. That itself is really ot the point or important. It was a good post, and interesting. Also, having lived in the Bay Area for 3 years (moved to La Jolla earlier this year) I can relate to your BART/SFO/SF/Berkely stories (although I must admit I have never seen one of these gay hookups, let along one trip!).

At no point am I comparing it to other posts, and I doubt other people are either. Good stuff, you come up with an interesting variety of topics to write about, and I'm thoroughly enjoying your writing. It's good stuff!


August 31, 2004 at 2:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ate my crayon.

August 31, 2004 at 5:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's bifurcated, not bi-forcated.


August 31, 2004 at 6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your writing improves with every new post. Write a book - I will buy it. Just incredible.

August 31, 2004 at 7:18 AM  
Blogger xcaducusx said...

True or not, how you were able to peice together the craiglist connection is beyond me. I hope to god you were right and that he was just waiting around fof his 'jon'. The discription of the kid behind the screen door in the diahrea fight had me rolling. Great writting NP, keep it up.

August 31, 2004 at 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

August 31, 2004 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger LC Greenwood said...

Ok, I don't like a lot of freckles on anyone... but the way you described this...and this boy's purpose... I think my soul just died a little.

August 31, 2004 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger SVD said...

"He looked like he stood behind a screen door during a diarrhea fight."

-Best. Sentence. Evar.

August 31, 2004 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger JP said...

"I KNOW this wasn't as good as my last post there is no need to mention it in your comments."

If you have something that is, that would be impressive. You set the bar pretty high, and the commentary will tend to compare you future work to that.

But, new stuff is nontheless fun to read. Further credit for being completely without bigotry - you seem to hate women, gays, WASPs and blacks with equal fervor.

August 31, 2004 at 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Nils -

Have you seen this yet in a bar? I hear they are popular these days, but I haven't run across one yet.

I'm thinking there's a good story yet to come out of this...

August 31, 2004 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger LadyJay said...

"you seem to hate women, gays, WASPs and blacks with equal fervor." -JP

I have to disagree with this, since Drunk's stance usually seems to be more of detached amusement to me. Maybe a feeling of moral superiority, but not hatred. I really appreciate the level of detail he brings to stories and completely identify with the humor potential brought by each trip to the airport (I always volunteer to meet people at the gate - that's guaranteed humor).

August 31, 2004 at 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm gonna raise the BS-flag on the AWOLMachine. If it in fact exists a vaporizer would still leave alcohol in your mouth cavity all the way down through your lounges. Explain to me how that would not register on a breathalizer?

/The Swede

P.S. It's sad that Nils felt it neccessary to point out that one story is "better" than the other. Each piece stands on it's own merits. I personally feel that the quality of writing continues to be of a very high quality, and that is what one should (if at all) measure Nils' stories by. And as for one subject being funnier than another - well hey, I have yet to find a single person who lives a 24/7 roller coaster life. Not even "the great" Tucker Max has that much fun. D.S.

August 31, 2004 at 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The AWOL machine is for real. There are a few places with them already:

August 31, 2004 at 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not into riding bandwagons, but that screen door freckled comment is the funniest thing I've read in any blog.

Fortunately I wasn't familiar w/ the SFO "scene" however I work in EC4 and am well familiar w/ the scene in the bathroom there.

August 31, 2004 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger NP said...

I here you. I actually work in EC2

August 31, 2004 at 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nicely told. i think you meant Eau de M4MCraigslistCasualEncounter not Aux.

-a francophiliac fan

August 31, 2004 at 5:57 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

where the hell did you get that wedding photo?

Can you say green card.

August 31, 2004 at 10:27 PM  
Blogger jon said...

Looking for new apartments I saw a post similar to your at this craiglist jobs in seattle site. Its wild how they are about the same thing!

have a great day!!

October 3, 2005 at 10:32 AM  
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