Where: Silver Gulch Brewing | Anchorage International Airport | Anchorage, AK
When: 9:25 AM-ish
Why: I’m a hungry, hungry hippo.
Favorite color today: Alaska Airlines Flight Attendant Blonde
I like this place. Since I sat down they’ve played Elton John, Don McLean and the The Rollings Stones, the manager mistook me for an old friend of his (by the way, exactly how old do I look?!) and they’ve invented the aforementioned genius “open calzone,” which is essentially a pita pocket full of things covered in cheese. If they weren’t $8.95 I’d probably eat 4. My plane doesn’t even board for over an hour, and I should be polishing my presentation for Friday, but of course I’d rather drink free water and people-watch. Also, my waiter has beautifully red hair and a goatee and undoubtedly belongs in some sort of medieval sci-fi love story (think ‘Stardust’). I think I’ll sit here for a while in case he’s about to uncover his destiny to the swell of an edgy, post-modern instrumental theme.
Today, it seem that there are four common types of people one meets while travelling:
1. People you are instantly fast friends with and feel as though you’ve known them forever. They can make their entrance wearing the guise of a bartender, cab-driver, seatmate, or passerby. Great if you’re looking for someone to share a hostel, hotel, cab, meal, or drink with. Sometimes, you exchange info and keep in touch forever. Sometimes, they steal your wallet. Alas, such is occasionally the cost of good company and I have come not to mind it so much.
2. Fascinating people you’d much rather observe than interact personally with (see: fire-haired waiter/hero-in-waiter) in order to avoid destroying the impossibly perfect life story you’ve concocted for them.
3. Very friendly strangers who share newspapers and hold up their end of meaningful conversations ~ these longer, more involved interactions usually reveal that they are the friend of a friend of a cousin or something. You can try and tell me it’s just because I live in Alaska, but I met my high-school boyfriend’s cousin on a flight out of Washington DC once and someone with whom I have mutual friends in Tokyo while flying Seattle to Ohio, so there.
4. Scary, mean people who hate everything and want you to have a miserable flight/ride/trip/life. Smile at them. Offer them half of your sandwich. Ask them how their trip is going. It will either soften them up or really freak them out, which is a win/win for you because either will shush them up about how terrible everything is at least briefly.
Broke on the Road Installment #1: Reading Material
In the cost:reading time debate, newspapers absolutely win since they cost an average of $2.00 and have so many words. Seriously, have you ever tried to count? It’s incredibly dense. OK, I may have forgotten my book today and had to improvise some mind-numbing in-flight activity for myself. Anyway, my point is, they’re entertaining and cheap. However, especially travelling far from home, the majority of the content (particularly papers from smaller communities) will make zero sense, and unless it’s from somewhere in the Midwest where butter sculpting and toddler pageants are a thing, probably won’t be very interesting. The trick is to know which sections to grab from the papers you will inevitably find lying around in airports, train stations, and cafes.
1. The Classifieds ~ if you enjoy people watching, celeberity gossip, reality TV, or slightly uncomfortable sexual advances, I just saved you a lot of time and money. Next time you’re rifling through a pile of discarded newsprint or wondering what to pick up at the newstand, pick the paper with the thickest ad section. At the very least, you’ll be able to help your local friend score a free futon or let them know about the Corgi Parade happening next week. At best, you’ll find yourself ensconced is some of the most unabashed, awkward, unexpectedly intimate human weirdness available for public viewing (legally).
2. The Obituaries ~ I know, I know, but hear me out. Think about romantic comedies. Think about ‘The Notebook’. It won awards and graces millions of people’s movie collections because of it’s authenticity and genuine emotion, right? That’s because the ability of a thing to elicit genuine emotion is a huge indicator of value. Hence, this section is really the heart of the newspaper. Travel can be emotionally numbing, what better way to re-connect with the core of humanity than to read words written lovingly for those departed? You are doing the writers a favor by participating in some small cosmic way in the celebration of their loved ones’ lives, and doing your heart a favor by reminding it how to get the feels. Emotional exercise is at least as important as the awkward chair yoga you were just attempting in your office casual travel outfit, you know.
3. Comics ~ duh.
4. Opinions ~ if you’re wondering what kind of place you were, are going, or are flying over, check out the Op Eds. The content be at the very least thought-provoking, and at the very best infuriating. Also, you can tell a lot about a place by which over-zealous, opinionated crazies they choose to publish (I mean that with all the love in my heart, as I absolutely consider myself one such member of my own community).
OK, I’ve been sitting in this airport restaurant for so long that I have inside jokes with the waitstaff, and I can only buy so much Loitering-Guilt Coffee before my nervous system shuts down or I start tapdancing, or something else equally atrocious. The waiter has yet to discover his true calling – I think I’ll write something mystical and cryptic on my receipt just in case I’m supposed to somehow predestined to expedite the process. Until next time, happy trails!