How I learned I was Queen of England

December 11, 2014
You think she's Queen of England, but she's an imposter. I am the Queen.

You think she’s Queen of England, but she’s an imposter. I am the Queen.

If you’re spending time in airports this month, or any time, it pays to keep your eyes open. You never know what–or whom–you’ll see.

There was a day when I actually looked around me in airports, instead of distracting myself with a book or computer or phone. People were more entertaining, then, perhaps. Or less irritating.  Yes, in my youth I took the advice Be Here Now to heart and was fully present no matter where I was. Including airports.

Now? Not so much.  Travel has become something to endure and for me, enduring it means being anywhere BUT the airport.  Since Calgon can’t take me away, my Kindle does. Or my Macbook Air.  I hardly notice a soul around me.  That’s my habit and I’ve grown accustomed to it. (And if you understand the reference to Calgon, you get extra points.)

But back in the late 1970s, I was alert to the world around me. Maybe the world was still fresh and new to me–I was, after all, in my late 20s.  Still a baby, really. My job took me from my home in Tallahassee, Fla. to Washington, D.C. fairly often and yes, M. and I were married to each other at the time, although not for long, it would turn out.  Laptops, notebooks and cellphones were all the future, unimaginable, really. So I carried a yellow lined pad and a pen wherever I went and wrote. Wrote and wrote.  I still have some of those pads just waiting to be transcribed.

Airport chairs back in the day were that horrible molded plastic and terrifically uncomfortable. So there I was, squirming in my chair, when I saw a guy who was clearly cray-cray.  Now, when I actually made eye contact with strangers, I always attracted the crazy ones, no matter where I went. Unless I was with my sister, and then SHE attracted them. I do remember a nutcase with one leg chasing the two of us down the street yelling at my sister, “Come back! Come back!”  Maybe he recognized a kindred spirit, who knows.

But this time, it was my turn to notice a guy who had some definite problems and to discover that I am Queen of England….and HERE’S the story.

Got a better airport story? I want to hear it. But it better be better than mine!




17 comments on “How I learned I was Queen of England
  1. Carolann says:

    I guess I get extra points lol. I always attract the cray crays too. Funny story!

  2. Of COURSE you’re the Queen of England, Carol — we all knew that! Loved the story about LeCarre, very cool. And, I often attract those odd balls too. Too much eye contact on my part.

  3. One time I was very impatiently waiting for my luggage…sighed…and the woman next to me very calmly said…It will be here soon dear. I looked into her face and thought she seemed familiar, but her sweet voice did bring calm to my anxiousness. Then a man approached her and said, here is your luggage Mrs. King. All this time I had stood next to Mrs. Martin Luther King. I still love to people watch in airports…one of my favorite ways to pass the time.

  4. Carol your post just reminded me how fun it was to people watch at the airport. Back in the 70’s a few friends and I would go there to do just that!

  5. Ruth Curran says:

    Makes you wonder how many potentially fascinating conversations we miss because we dismiss people. I will remember not to dismiss you, Your Royal Highness!

  6. Linda Roy says:

    I loved the Calgon reference! I’m always saying that, and my kids are like “What?”

    I don’t have a better airport story, but I did find a name in my iPhone notes yesterday that was a running joke for my son and me last time we were at the airport. There was a message on the loudspeaker for a guy named Gideon Bolack. Our flight was delayed, so we sat there making up a whole life story for this guy, imagining he was on our flight. To this day we still laugh about Gideon Bolack.

  7. Risa says:

    Left a comment on your story, Your Highness. It’s the short version of the time I was detained for possession of a highly suspicious substance related to fondue pots. You’ll see.

  8. Writers must just act crazy (or drunk) to see the reaction. I sat by a wacko on the way to Boston last year who was furiously addressing postcards. There was no one in the middle seat between us so he leaned over and said, “I’m sending these to a woman I never met.” Hmmm… I said, trying to avoid him. “I just pick a name from a phone book and mail it. I’ve been doing it for more than 20 years,” he went on. We ended up conversing (cuz I couldn’t get him to shut up) and he told me he’s a children’s book author and gave his name. As soon as we landed and I waited for my ride, I looked him up. Sure enough, he’s a published author. I don’t recall his name now but I’ll never forget that story.

  9. Now that is a great story, Your Majesty. Will never think of John LeCarre in quite the same way again.

  10. Kim Tackett says:

    That is an awesome story. But the most awesome part is that you showed a stranger kindness, when no one else could. And I get the Calgon reference too.

  11. The BEST people watching is at the airport!

  12. Wow, that is a great story! No one talks to me at all in the airports. I feel like I’m missing out.

  13. Janie Emaus says:

    What a story! I love watching people in the airport and am sad that so many travelers just keep their eyes on their phones these days.

  14. Yay! I got extra points for getting the Calgon reference. I’ve always found airports to be such fascinating places with better people watching than Hollywood. I was once in an airport bar waiting for my flight when a tipsy woman sitting next to me said “we were supposed to be taking our dream vacation to Hawaii right now. But because of my GD, good for nothing, SOB brother, we have to go to Michigan now.” She said this twice before I finally took the bait and asked why they had to change their plans.
    “Because the stupid SOB committed suicide and we have to go to his funeral in Michigan!”
    Stunned, I replied “wow !well I guess it’s the last time he’ll cause you to change your plans.”

  15. WendysHat says:

    Fun story, even though I had to Google the name you dropped! Ha ha ha! I’m a huge people watcher and have had many spontaneous experiences because of that.

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