Monday, May 25, 2009

Door 10 Terminal B at Newark Airport

My friend Valerie is visiting from her native Paris. Valerie was our first au pair when my girls were very little. She is now 40. I have known her a long time. Last summer my girls and I visited Paris for the first time and Valerie showed us around. I told Valerie that I would be happy to host her when she was ready to visit the States.

I picked up Valerie and her two friends Crys and Crystal (easy to remember) at Newark airport on Wednesday afternoon. Newark is quite a scene by door 10 at the B terminal. There are so many arrivals from every airline and country you can imagine. Their plane was due to arrive at 3:40pm. It was on time, but it took about an hour for the girls to get through customs, which gave me tons of time to people watch. People, such as me, who are waiting are kept behind the roped off area that the visitors arrive into. I spent time guessing which flight people had come from; Edinburgh, Frankfort, Warsaw, DeGalle, Orly, Madrid, Barcelona, Heathrow.

There are many facial variations, expressions and habits. Some people come down that ramp to be met by friends and relatives, joy apparent. Others practically skip. Others are fearful and suspicious of the rest of us, quickly making eye contact then averting their eyes. Others walk back and forth, behind the roped off area, unsure where they should go from there. Still others find their driver, nod and keep walking, driver in tow.

One American couple was immediately annoyed (heavy gold laden thick lipped man, well carved woman) as their driver did not present himself to them. The man stood right in front of me on the other side of the rope speaking loudly "is Preston there? Find him.......Preston, you aren't here. Get your ass here right now. I'm here and I don't see you (raised voice)." "Where am I? Here, where I always come in. No, you are not here. I see the cars parked right outside, where the drivers always park and you are not there."

I loved it. I don't know what I loved more; that the driver's name might actually be Preston (I wasn't buying it, by the way), or that the couple was so stereotypical, as if, of course this couple was flying into New Jersey, this is where they belong.

To finish the story, of course Valerie did arrive safely. More later.

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