Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dallas/Fort Worth international Airport (DFW)

June 2005, Flying While Black

I'm returning to Tucson from PA, happy to be halfway home and sipping wine. To my left are three characters who engage me some mild chit chat.  At the far end of our cluster is a large woman with a south Philly accent.  She has a loud laugh which feels generous. She's going to Tucson too and we recognized each other from the bar in PHL. Beside her is a classic Dallas blonde bombshell who is already tipsy and wiggles her manicured fingers over her red zinfandel when she talks. Between Dallas-gal and me is a black man named Derreck with an African-sounding last name. Without Derreck the rest of us would never have become a grouping.

Derreck, who fascinates us all, tells exciting stories about his success that combined with the generous laugh of Philly-lady and the wiggling red nails of Dallas-gal makes me feel incredibly optimistic. 

I order my merlot and Derreck asks the waitress for a napkin.  I get my drink, but no napkin appears for Derreck.

Derreck tells us about how he worked for a small internet company that was bought by Yahoo!! He tells is it so enthusiastically that Dallas-gal actually says "Yaaa-hoo!" and would have waved her cowboy hat, had she been wearing one.  Instead, the fingers wiggle a little faster than normal and don't fold into her palms when she's finished.

"Now I get to travel ALL OVER," Derreck actually beams as he says this. I'm grinning too.  There is something beautiful and refreshing about the way he makes us all feel successful.

He tries to flag the waitress again, and is ignored again.  I notice the frustration on his face. The waitress asks Philly-lady how she's doing.  Derreck leans across Dallas-gal to get the waitress' attention.  I am shocked as the waitress appears to actively ignore him, yet slaps the napkin he was requesting onto the bar without looking his way.  Derreck takes a deep breath while studying the napkin. Then, he seems pleased to have the napkin and shows no indications of anger.

Derreck proceeds to tell us the ins and outs of traveling all the time for work.  Dallas-gal is especially interested in learning about valet parking at the Dallas airport.

"Such a time saver!" Derreck proclaims. Then excused himself from conversation to make a rental car call to Los Angeles. When he hangs up, he drains his beer.  The waitress is refilling Dallas-gal's zin and Derreck asks for a refill, "Please?".  The waitress walks away without acknowledging that she hears him. "Hey!" He calls after her. "Excuse me!" He's standing on the rung of his stool leaning over the bar.  Amazingly, his tone is not angry.

She returns and pours him a beer, saying nothing.

"Thanks!" Derreck chirps. 

I am impressed with his control, and wish I had some of Derreck's characteristics.