Yesterday I landed at the Hartford Bradley Airport in Connecticut around noon. I grabbed my bag, took a hot piss that splashed into my shoes because I used the child urinal, and then slimed my way to baggage claim. I chose the child urinal for a specific reason: on Friday, I was pissing next to Nick Turani at the office. I tried to dog him about the pressure of his stream. I had a good flow going and felt like I could power wash paint chips off the hull of a Boston Whaler. It wasn't quite the flow needed to clean deck stones under a grill, mottled from the drips of ribs over years. But my urethra was as wide as she gets, and I was feeling myself.
Me: "Hey Nick, my stream is a lot louder than yours."
Nick: "That's because the distance between your penis and the bowl is greater."
When you come at Nick, you best not… piss?
From then on, I knew if I ever urinated next to Nick again, I'd have to crouch. More broadly, I'm now self-conscious and I select whichever piss trough sits at the greatest distance from my unit so as to amplify the stream.
My wife was picking me up but I had to wait 15 minutes because she didn't have the respect to arrive on time. Sat on a cement bench near pickup area 4B, engulfed in cigarette smoke from dying fours, even though we hadn't seen each other in a week. I felt like the kid at school whose parents are a massive question mark, sitting on the pickup curb long after all the other kids have been collected, fending off kindly predators as they offer me rides to Dairy Queen. "She'll be here soon," I'd mumble with little conviction. Mom's been hitting it hard lately. Long sleeves over track marks despite the July heat. Dad's in prison again—a credit card scheme that Capitol One caught so fast you'd think they sent the vikings. Grandmother died, and as the meningitis scaled her spine like some invasive plant species, so to went the structure of my life. I don't even have the Nintendo Switch anymore—mom boiled it down in a crockpot and sent it up her arm.
Well, that's where the mind goes when you're waiting at the Hartford Bradley International (lol) Airport arrivals area. But then she was there, and calling me. I picked up to her telling me to look up, but her tone shifted.
"I'm right over—no, excuse me, I'm not your car. Hello? Sir, I'm not—"
I spotted our car just as a random guy closed the trunk. To our car. Then he opened the back passenger door and was met by our two happy dogs. Confused, he shut the door in their smiling faces and threw up his hands in confusion. My wife was signaling frantically to him through the window, but he just kept looking at the dogs, annoyed, as I arrived.
"Hey man, this isn't your car," I said. My wife had rolled down the window and was saying the same.
"The fuck is this… dogs?"
He was as drunk as they come. Impossibly drunk. Slurred speech, eyes rolling around his head. I opened our trunk to put my bags in and saw that he'd already put his fucking luggage in the trunk of our car.
"Dude, this isn't your Uber. This is our car," I said, starting to pull his bags out of the trunk. But he stopped me.
"Stop… what—what are you… I called this Uber" he said, now pushing his bags BACK into the trunk as I tried to take them out.
Where do we go from here? What's next, from a human perspective?
I turned to face him directly now.
"Hey man. This is my car, this is not your Uber. Those are my dogs and my family," I said, as slowly and directly as I could.
But nobody was home. The lights were long out.
"We good pal?" he said, stepping forward.
I stepped back. Jesus fucking Christ. Imagine you've been traveling for a week, you land, you collect your bags, your family comes to pick you up, and you have to defend yourself physically from a drunken maniac in the traffic of the pickup lane at a small, regional airport because he thinks you're taking his Uber despite the fact that your fucking DOGS ARE IN THE CAR.
He reached out for me, so I stepped back again. But somewhere deep in his soupy subconscious, the dreamy conductor of his brain switched tracks on him. For now he was holding his hand out, trying to dap me up. I took his hand.
"Have a good flight dude," he said.
"Ok man, you too."
I left his bags on the road, shut the trunk, and got into the car as fast as I could—before he could change his mind again. Pulling away, I watched in the mirror as he turned to another waiting traveler to leak his fumes on him.
It's been 24 hours, and I can't stop wondering about this guy. Where did he get so drunk? I checked which airports fly to BDU. Most of the flights are relatively short. Maybe he had an extreme delay in his departing airport, went to a bar, and started nuking himself with liquor. Did the flight attendant on his flight continue to serve him? Where on earth is he going? Did he make it there? How many other incorrect cars did he get into?
How drunk would you have to be to put your bags into an Uber that had two dogs in the backseat?
Food for thought.