Sitting in an Irish pub; in an Emirati airport, drinking Scottish whisky and American beer. In come some soldiers I know.
We have a few drinks; they’re on their way to Thailand. Thailand I thought; oh the possibilities.
A bunch of Canadians, just being Canadian. Havin’ a time; havin’ some drinks. They take off one way; I down the other. I’ve still got many tens of gates to walk past. I walk into a drug store and tell the guru behind the counter that I feel sick.
He no doubt can smell the whiskey and the fatigue. He sells me a package of strange red capsules. The guru assures me that the ginkgo biloba gelatin inside was just what the doctor ordered; all that I needed to cleanse my mind and body.
Fifty dollars later and he’s cleansed my pocket change; bloody persuasive hippie.
He also sold me some Tiger Balm. I’ve only ever heard the term on Seinfeld, but that was all the credibility that a purchasing decision at that point required.
Fuck it; you only buy ancient-mystical-Asian-healing-balms once in a while.
Give me some Viagra too.
I take a seat further down the airport beside a man wearing a shalwar kameez. I love Islamic culture; it’s beautiful. Unfortunately I knew that my stench of liquor and debauchery would offend this man; but he was very kind to me anyway. Just as everyone I met in Dubai or from Afghanistan was. Kind, peaceful, respectful and honest. They always seemed more concerned that I was okay; than anything else.
He was from New York; visiting family back in Pakistan.
Drunkenly, and with the utmost honesty, I ask the man, “They must give you shit at the airport in New York, eh?”
“You have no idea.” he said.
I sit at the gate with this man as we watch the people gather for our flight; conversing casually. He eventually excuses himself to go grab something to eat.
People-watching with strangers is the oddest thing. If we didn’t happen to be sitting beside one another; we very well could have each been having an oddly similar conversation with other people – observing one another in some perverse alternate dimension.