Opinion

Gyasi Ross: Flying the not too friendly skies after the election





"I think airport conversations–when you’re waiting for your flight–are the most interesting conversations you can have. The reason why? Who knows? Could it be that the possibility of dying within the next few hours from a drunken pilot using his beer goggles to steer causes people to intimate information they otherwise wouldn’t? Perhaps it’s the realization that you’ll probably never see the person you’re rambling to again so you can burden them with your darkest secrets? Then again, maybe there’s something about flying the friendly skies that makes everybody, y’know, friendlier.

It remains a mystery.

Whatever the reason, people tend to be looser and more honest on planes and in the terrible/overpriced bars in the airports. Flying is like alcohol, though; folks probably dance better on planes, too. Indeed, I’ve concluded that airports are like dive bars for professional types: it’s the one context that us uptight professional schmucks feel comfortable being honest and saying what we really feel (although we are still not quite as inclined to take an undesirable home and wake up with a guilty conscience as in a bar).

With that in mind, an elderly, white gentleman took up conversation with me in the Denver airport, one week after the 2012 Elections. I took a very early flight back to Seattle after speaking at an event and, although I was very tired, he was genuinely friendly, and a conversation very organically happened. This guy was a handsome older gentleman—the type of white dude that I would like to look like in my 60s if I had any desire whatsoever to be white when I am in my 60s. I don’t (and can’t). But he resembled Dennis Farina in “Snatch”—dark (I thought that he was of Hispanic descent when I first met him), elegant, sharp, but with just enough dirty, old, white man to keep it honest."

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: Divisiveness, Drunken Pilots And Kim Kardashian: A Pigeon-toed Indian Pontificates About The 2012 Elections (Racialicious 11/21)