The gift shop in the Portland Jetport is in the gate area. It smells of a pleasant pine potpourri and is festooned with products from Maine. I’ve lived in Maine for over forty years, but still can be tempted to buy pine cone decorated candle holders or moose refrigerator magnets. It’s the same feeling that comes over me when I’m at a Disneyworld gift shop. That oven glove that looks like Mickey Mouse’s hand seems like a necessity and the Goofy clocks are to die for. Both of those items are totally out of place once they are in a home.
Because of the Philadelphia airport incident of August 2010, I am scrutinizing emergency items necessary to survive a night in a freezing cold airport, such as socks, sweatshirts and multiple candy bars and making sure I know the exact time the gift shop closes, when I notice someone unfamiliar that appears to be approaching me out of the corner of my eye. I veer to the right toward the paperback books and pretend to read the titles. I notice the same shadowy tall figure nearing me on my right and I turn left toward the Maine sweatshirts and t-shirts. Finally I turn on my heels and head toward the exit when a man about my age stops himself directly in front of me. I look up and see a huge smile on his face, and he was looking directly into my eyes.
Do I know this person? My mind is racing, mentally taking inventory of every man I’ve ever met. He looks vaguely familiar and he finally asks of me.....
“Do I know you?”
I say, “ I don’t know.”
He says, “You look very, very familiar.”
I said, “You look kinda familiar.” (I figured this was a wise thing to say just in case I actually did know this person. I didn’t want to seem like I forgot all about him or that he was so insignificant in my life that I didn’t remember him.)
“Are you a teacher?” , I ask. (Teachers are just about the only people I know. Tons of them)
“Where are you from?”, he inquires.
“Orginally?”, I ask.
“New Jersey”, I say, thinking maybe I went to high school with him!! I’ve always wanted to run into someone from high school that I’ve haven’t seen in like, forever, and then realize we know each other.
New Jersey did not put a knowing look on his face.
“You’re a teacher?”, he aks.
“Where?” (Now at this point I’m surveying him for terrorist accessories, or hidden box cutters.)
Suddenly, probably sensing my razor sharp eyes scanning him, he tells me he’s a surgeon in Camden, Maine.
“Hmmm”,I tell him, “I’ve been to Camden several times before.”
That didn’t impress him at all, so he very politely said, “ It was nice to meet you, but I’m guessing I don’t know you”.
He left the gift shop and entered the bar next door. He probably needed a stiff drink to help him recover from the disappointment of not being able to reminisce with me about our spontaneous romantic trip to the Isles of Greece when we were in our twenties.....or something like that.
Ah, those were the days.
Update: I just want to wish a sweet lady, Annie's Mom, a very happy, happy birthday! Love ya!