Sunday, December 30, 2007

Trying To Get Away...

Sitting at the Oakland Airport, twisting my boarding pass in my hand while waiting for my flight, a teenage girl comes and sits two seats away from me. I dont really look up, but I can smell the grease and pepperoni on a slice of Round Table Pizza in her hand, hear the clinking of ice in a paper Coca Cola cup, then the sounds of her munching and slurping come through the white noise of the terminal. I pull out my book and begin reading, peer over at her bleached hair and lip ring and the cookie cutter restaurants behind her, same as any other terminal in any other airport. She drops a greasy napkin in front of me as she gets up to throw away her trash and makes a cell phone call as she sits down.

¨What are you doing?¨ I hear her say, ¨playing the blues? ...Its so difficult to move your pinky like that...¨

"Oh she´s a musician," I think to myself, "That´s Awesome! You dont overhear enough conversations about playing music."

Then she continues, "...Oh I can never do Dragonforce on Expert, thats crazy!"

"Oh. She´s talking about Guitar Hero," I think, "Thats a shame."

I mention this to my brother when I finish eavesdropping on her conversation, including a lament about her makeup being taken away at security and "depo" shots (People watching is the best at airports). I tell him that I´m excited to get out of the USA for a little while, to get out of the stronghold our corporate culture has on us. He agrees wholeheartedly. He has only been back in The States for Christmas.

Of course as we arrive in Quito, after jetting over the most beautiful spread of buildings and mountain peaks, the highrises clinging to the green hillsides, and after landing on the runway right in the middle of the city, as I´m standing beside my brother in line for customs with my guitar slung over my shoulder, he points towards a man a few people ahead of us in line with the neck of a Guitar Hero guitar sticking out of his backpack.

"Okay, nevermind," I mutter.

And, of course, the man screening bags at the Quito customs looks at my brother, and giving him a hug says, ¨Billy, whats up man!¨ We walk into the front of the Airport where dozens of eager faces are watching everyone come out of the terminal, and five of my brother´s friends are waiting, greet us with hugs and kisses on the cheek, take us out and load us and our stuff into two cars, and we charge across the city, American music blaring from the stereo...