A blushful aura obscures my face. I am a travel weary woman locked in a maze of button pink curlers. Unmercifully I grab for my silver clippies. Rows of bobby pins hide under my flossy scarf. They banish all thoughts of me making my plane on time. I give myself a tired smile while my astonished eye scrutinizes my face. I am almost ghostly as I grip the edge of the fluffy pink canopy costuming my head.
Picking the bobby pins out of my hair a swoop of wet locks fall on my face powdered cheeks. I lunge at the slippery strands. They are like thousands of strangers offering me an invitation to play. “Feel free to be as imaginative as you please,” they say teasingly. But it is the pink setting tape across my bangs that has me wincing at the frizz factor.
And then just when I think there is no hope for this bobby pin queen, the heat blowing monster rises! It tumbles my hair in the diffuser bowl down the tunnel of mousse where I vanish into the light scent of lilies, lift my hair with my large toothed comb, and cross my fingers for a taxi encounter.
A yellow car pulls up in a puff.
“Are you really a cabbie?” I ask peering inside.
A cantankerous driver greets me and I hop in with my bags. Gliding over a double yellow line my commute to the airport begins. I hold my stomach. He slips over a few more lanes of city roadway and a hundred backlights come into view. “This looks like a good spot for tofu,” I think as we sit idly in traffic. A group of passers-by peer in at the restaurant window. They give the impression they want to taste every dish imaginable.
A few cars inch up ahead and we slowly pass a storefront window of scantily clad mannequins. They stare at me and I find myself ogling them back. “What is behind your purse-shaped lips?” I wonder. “Is it a quick glimmer of human perfection?” Once again my cab lurches forward and I take a quick, backward glance at the lifelike mannequins seductively posed. They stare at me from behind the glass and I am caught in their blinking eyes.
Turning into the airport terminal a row of yellow taxis idle at the curb. Outside is a mob scene. I eye the cabbie. He makes a few impolite taps on the meter and I unroll his fare. He gives me the briefest of nods. Gathering my baggage I jump out of the cab with clouded wisdom and stand at the edge of the crowd. I bite my lip. And then, in a quick moment’s panic I turn into an emotional spectacular and run for the departure gate. Upon entering the magical kingdom of chaos the unthinkable happens.
Someone in front of me lets out a baleful “Uh, oh!” and the pandemonium begins. It is hard to enjoy the hustle and bustle of a cancelled flight. News of it alone sparks Armageddon. Like wildly rearing horses the terminal becomes strewn with ear-pricked, disgruntled inhabitants stampeding in mayhem over their unconventional manners. Emotionally heightened conversations detonate my travel bubble, and I am quickly dispersed into the dispiriting scene. The realm of pure noise is hardly a soft landing as I careen into the bedlam of luggage-toting figures. Stumbling my way further and further into the sodden gloom, I search for a spot to stretch my legs for I too am an emotional casualty. Not finding an empty seat, I crouch on my baggage and resign myself to my fate.