6:00 am. I enter the airport, far too early (as usual). Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is great. It has all the local Austin faire, so Juiceland was on the menu. I get myself a Percolator and sit down by an electrical outlet.
Enter box hair dye, a leather jacket, and wandering eyes.
I’m very aware of my surroundings. I’m a woman in 2019. I know your next move before you do. Off the table: headphones at night, walking in areas without a lot of people, walking in areas with a lot of people, and headphones in the day time.
So when Bill Nighy from ‘Love, Actually’ sits across from me, I’m aware. Burying myself in my phone seems like the normal escape. I think about how long we’ve been using our phones as a shield. 2010? I feel like it was rude before 2010… I don’t remember.
“Nice jacket.” Damn this jacket. It’s a great jacket, and I know it. I get compliments on it all the time, and I love them… most of the time. Look, he can’t help it – it is a ‘nice jacket.’
“Thank you,” and back to the phone.
“Nice boots, too. I am wearing some like that.” His boots are nothing like my Docs. They’re flat, they aren’t tall, and they’re barely boots, honestly.
“Haha, yeah.” Back to the phone. Moments of silence. A reprieve. Send out too many tweets for that early in the day. He mumbles to himself – fine by me.
“My friend said to take the train?” Sigh.
“Oh, yeah – there’s a train from Newark to Penn Station to wherever you need to go, man.”
“Penn Station…. yeah — I think that’s familiar… ya know, I just haven’t been to New York in so long. My friends – haha – my friends just sent me this picture of our hotel room.” He shows me his phone. It’s a murder scene. A literal murder scene. It’s 7:00 am. “They’re joking… I hope. Do you know where St. Mark’s is?”
He Googles it – as he should have. “Oh it’s over here. So you’re taking the train in? To where?”
“Oh, I’m going to Lyft probably.”
Did he just ask me to walk him through the process of getting to that murder scene? He hinted, for sure, at me going with him.
We line up for our Southwest Flight (B9, thank you). He’s B6. A young girl is standing with us. He asks her for her number – “B13” and he tells her that’s behind us. She moves to behind us, and in this moment, behind the oversized leather jacket, the rings on his fingers, and his ‘blond’ hair to cover the grays, I realize – the aging rocker is just a cop.