I read an article a while ago in which the author called PHL a “shame spiral.” I giggled and was pleased to find such a concise, yet accurate articulation of a place where it routinely rains inside, where security lines snake all the way out to the train station and where a microscope is necessary to see the cream cheese on the bagels at the Dunkin Donuts in terminal D.
Then I flew out of LED.
Let’s Enjoy Dilapidation, shall we?
The building looked like an office building out of the 1960s—dusty Venetian blinds and ugly brown marble that looked like it should have had filing cabinets against it but instead had blue metal seats that lost to a cactus in a comfort contest.
I wanted to take a picture of it so that every time I talk shit about PHL in the future I’d be able to remind myself that things could be so much worse, but I had a dilemma.
“Richard!” I said. “Sit here and paste a silly grin on your face so it looks like I’m taking a picture of you because the Russian version of the TSA is over there and I have nowhere to run if they ask me why I’m taking a photo of their airport.”
See, security is located right at the gate, which means once you go through, that’s it—no food, no drink, no bathrooms, nada. You are pretty much penned within a glass-walled box with nowhere to go. Better hope that flight isn’t delayed!
That is, of course, if you can make it past the Lively, Enjoyable Delight that is Russian immigration and passport control.
And that, of course, if you manage not to Lunge, Enragingly Displeased at the inept group of, like, six people in front of you taking ten minutes to figure out a touch screen kiosk to print their boarding passes because the hell we were waiting in that check-in queue, especially when we didn’t have bags to check.
And that, of course, if you pass the totally Lighthearted, Ebullient Delectation that is the security inspection just to walk in the door of damn place.
But there is a Friday’s. For some reason, there is a Friday’s. It’s like a Lurid, Eerie Dream in which you are lost in some nightmarish setting and then you see something familiar that somehow renders it more horrifying.
But what counts is that we made it out on time, made our connection in Frankfurt and landed in Dublin, where the kind folks at that airport thought to bring out two—two—immigration officers to deal with a horde of non-EU passport holders. That was exceptionally nice of them. I mean, I totally was not ready for this trip to be over, so I’m glad they were gracious enough to let me extend it an extra 45 minutes. It was exactly what I wanted at 11:00 at night. Thanks, guys. You always pull through for me, like when I came to Ireland initially this summer after not having seen my boyfriend in forever and you guys were all like, Pfffft, we’ll open four immigration windows to handle five full flights because absence makes the heart grow fonder, bitch.
I do so love your Definitely Unequivocal Buffoonery.
So let’s step back. Total credits obtained? 16 out of a possible 17. Successful. How many were Big Apples? Five. Why does it seem like there were more than five? This is not the time for rhetorical questions. How many were Pax creations? Two. On how many coasters did my life flash before my eyes? Two. Are the two previous questions related? Yes. How many trips did we take on the Moscow Metro? Twenty. How many times did accordion players board said Metro and sing to us? One. How many stops until they switched cars? One. How do I know this? It’s an accordion we’re talking about here. How many times did we eat at McDonald’s? Three. How is it that the Russians have mastered the perfect salt to fry ratio? Whatever, keep doing it. How many miles did we walk? I don’t understand why the coaster enthusiast community has a little bit of a weight problem. How many clean public bathrooms did I encounter? What dumbass asks a question like that? Please.
Would I do it again? Yes.
Just Russia, please grow up and fix your attitude towards the LGBT community. You have an Olympics to host and you’re not making a very strong argument for why you deserve this honor. No, you are by no means the only archaic country with zero regard for basic human rights in this context, but that’s hardly an excuse.
And you know, it’s not just about the Olympics. It’s about equality and human dignity. It’s about being educated. It’s about common sense. Yet for some reason, Russian lawmakers aren’t interested in that. They would rather wallow in ignorance, setting their priorities on finding new ways to flaunt their cowardice.
It is impossible to respect that.
To say I want to go back is the truth, but it troubles me to say it. I don’t want to support a country whose leaders’ beliefs are so far backward that they are looking up to their asses before their heads.
And yet a nation is so much more than its lawmakers. To personally boycott a place based on a few idiots puts on blinders to thousands of intelligent, good people who can do little to change a suffocatingly conservative agenda.
Also there is a new Giant Inverted Boomerang being installed.
So I don’t know. That’s the only way I can leave it for now.