Sitting in the Charlotte airport, waiting.

The morning wakens; people stir on Concourse C.

     A wave of souls walking, moving, dragging wheeled belongings behind them.

Clack, clack, clack, clack.

I hear her coming down the concourse long before I see her frumpled image.

Like some bag lady; like some waif selling flowers at a roadside stand,

      she pushes and pulls and wags her kiosk into place.

 

Unnoticed by the hurrying travelers who scurry by, she carefully removes

      and then folds the cart’s cover.  Boxed booty to be displayed.  “Essentially Yours,” says the sign.

      Goods for the weary ones who pass by, I suppose.  I find myself wondering how important her

             treasures could be for those passing by, those so unaware of her ‘essential’ wares.

 

And now, a voice.  Pleasant.  Almost perky, and yet with a note of seriousness.

“Attention, travelers,” says the unknown announcer.  She gives no introduction.  She fails to leave her name.

    “Attention, travelers,” she says, again.

 

Talking to people she’s never met.  Her voice rings down Concourse C.  She means to interrupt, I think.  But it is obvious that her voice represents no interruption to those trudging to their departure gate.

 

 “This is a special announcement.  Never leave your bags or belongings unattended . . .”  Her voice drones on like the lyric of a tired old song that these tired souls have heard a thousand times.  Be careful of belongings.  Bags subject to search.  Suspicious bags that need to be reported.  Watch out for the bags, says the voice without a name.

 

But no one stops.

No one snaps to attention.

Not one traveler, not one lady or gentleman even pauses along their way to listen.

 

She said, “Attention, travelers.” I distinctly remember. She called everyone to attention.

And yet, no one seems to be paying her any mind at all.

 

People on their way to God-knows-where … passing other travelers, pulling baggage that must be essential.

    Baggage that must be watched, and protected, and inspected-on-demand.

 

The morning is awake now, on Concourse C.  Life can begin in Charlotte, I suppose.

      The woman at the “Essentially Yours” kiosk has opened for business.  She sits on a stool and watches.

 

I wonder what she sees?

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