The Curious Case of the Mystery Man and the Airport Shuttle

Sunday, December 28, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

My wife and I set our alarms for 2:30am, out the door by 3:00, to make a 7:10 flight out of Logan airport.  It was a two-hour drive from our house to the Revere, MA Park & Ride that we had previously booked online.  Considering I am now on vacation, you know this isn't going to be some sob story about how my sleep schedule got screwed up by a direct flight to paradise.

The Park & Ride was not a one of those fluorescent light covered monstrosities that serves as a beacon of advertisement for larger car rental companies like Alamo or Budget.  With the wattage those puppies were putting out, the street lighting seemed quaint, like holiday decorations along the fringe of the real source of light.  Our Park & Ride was on a smallish corner lot, just a block from a major rotary.  It was not well lit.  It had a small sign that said Revere Park & Ride in white lettering.  

There was a small service center built into the corner of the open paved lot, and the whole place was surrounded by wire fencing with barbed wire that ran along the top. There was no "parking garage." It was all one level of exposed pavement, no stacking.  Old school.  My wife parked the car in one of the lined spots away from the busy intersection, and we gathered our belonging and made our way to dimly lit hut. It was now 5:00am. 

As we were just lifting our suitcases onto the sidewalk pavement, a middle-aged Asian man swerved his over-sized new-model Cadillac onto the pavement in front of us.  His window was down. 

"Is this the parking for the airport?," he asked.  His accent was pronounced, but besides the funny word placement, his English was almost flawless. 

"Yes," my wife and I said in unison, our tone as definitive as two people can be when they just parked their car in a dark parking space in the wee hours of the morning and still had not seen another human. 

"So, this is the parking for the airport?," he repeated. His tone this time is less inquisitive and more insistent -- like we were holding out on him or something.

I thought we'd covered this. 

"Yes," I said again, "As far as we know."

My wife doesn't suffer fools and she doesn't answer people twice.

We went inside where we were greeted by a more than affable for this time in the morning, heavyset guy in his late twenties with a thick Revere accent. We smile nostalgically as he asked us questions about our cahh and where we want it pahkd.  I had visions of a young Ben Affleck as this maple syrup of an accent checked our car in for its weekly visit.  

My wife was actively talking to the guy when our Asian friend came in the door, walked behind my wife and I, and leannnnned over the counter next to me. He then immediately began in on a set of questions directed at the employee who was having a pleasant, business related, conversation with my wife. 

I leaned further over the counter myself, trying to serve as a visual barrier.  He was undeterred.  

"Excuse me . . . Excuse me . . .," he interjected across the space, this time to everyone more than to just the employee.   

The guy working the desk turned to the man, and with the crisp fuck-you'ary that the Revere accent always leaves room for he replied, "I'll be with yah in just moment. When I'm done here." 

By the time he hit his second sentence, he'd already looked away from the guy.   The conversation was over.  It was beautiful.  As my wife and this hero of 5:00am finished up the details, I ran to the bathroom, seeing as the shuttle hadn't arrived yet and I had consumed a large travel mug full of coffee on the way to the parking spot. 

I did not dally.  While I may, on occasion, be known to "lose myself" on the porcelain throne, I can assure you all that the toilet of a Revere Park & Drive is not where I whip out my iPhone for some brown browsing (that's what I call it, cause it's so dirty and ubiquitous).  But alas, much like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, a lot went down while I was indisposed.  

As my wife told it, the shuttle came not long after I left to hit the head. The other man feverishly went through the check-in movements, then practically ran out to the shuttle van.  A moment or two later he came back inside and demanded that they leave for the airport -- knowing full well that would be leaving one of their there total passengers stranded.  The shuttle driver, the Casey Affleck to the desk guys Ben, was also unmoved at this attempt to bully him into service before the sun was even up.  

By the time I got back, all of our bags were loaded save for my computer bag, which my wife  heroically saved from being touched by anyone with whom I don't share a last name. The look on her face was a mixture of social anxiety, rush, and anger.  As I came into view, her anxiety relented, and anger rushed in to fill its place.

I see the back of the Asian man as he pushes out the glass-paned doors and heads for the van.  

"He insists we leave this instant," my wife tells me.  The sarcasm in her tone was so heavy, I thought it might drip onto the floor.  She resumes her normal, perturbed in this case, speaking voice, "What does he think I'm gonna do, leave you!?!"  There we're two exclamation points to her one question mark. 

The van ride wasn't much better.

"How long to the airport? How long til the airport?  How long til we get to the airport?" the man parroted repeatedly up to the driver.  

"Ten minutes, sir," the driver responded. If it is possible to make your voice sound as if you've turned away from someone, even though you already weren't looking at them to begin with, that was the voice the driver used.  Plus, the Revere accent of course. 

After that, our Asian friend talked on his phone, alternating between a soft secretive voice and an almost comically loud one -- he also mixed what sounded like a dialect of Chinese in with his English.  I chuckled as he often switched to Chinese when his voice got soft.  I guess the language shift wasn't foolproof enough to mask the important details on his confidential information.  That said, the English portion of his conversation all pertained to how far away from his gate he thought he was and how slow the van was going.  I couldn't imagine the conversational topic jumped too far into top secret world politics, even with tensions medium-high between our countries.  

Mercifully, this man's gate was before ours.  As the man flew through the van door and slammed it shut with his backswing, there was a tangible sense of relief that spread between the remaining humans inside the van.  After a pause, the driver pulled back out into traffic, and began talking to us. 

"You wanna know what's crazy. That guy travels with us . . . I'm not exaggerating . . . 5 times a month. A month! Always the same way. Always in a super hurry, playing stupid about every step of the process.  About a month ago he jumped out of the van and didn't even close the door behind him. Had to give him some hell of that one.  He's unbelievable. I told him, I'm not gonna drive crazy just cause you're always running late."

Mind. Blown.

"Seriously, five times a month?" I don't know what else to say.

"All the fucking time man, that guy has a serious problem or something."

I'm just can't stop thinking back to when this man first pulled his Caddy onto the lot.  He friggin asked us if this was the place to park for the airport, and he's there more than once a week!  Either he's got some heavy duty brain damage or he's some sort of evil genius.  I say evil, because only a bad guy would suggest splitting up a couple on their way to the airport. 

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