The airplane is one of the most significant inventions of the 20th century, and the development and accessability of air travel in general has made vast changes to how all of us live our lives. The opportunities to travel the world in comfort and safety, and with unprecedented swiftness have never been greater. So it's quite ironic that airports are one of the only places where you are almost guaranteed a long wait.
Some time ago my wife and I were waiting at an out of town airport to pick up my sister. When her flight was delayed, we found ourselves with three hours to kill. To stave off boredom, we started making a list of things to do in order to kill time at the airport. Here are some of the items we came up with. Keep in mind that the Dontmindme editorial staff takes no responsibility for any trouble you might find yourself in.
- Spit balls on the glass. Many terminals have some sort of tall glass wall segregating the security area. Just get a straw and see how high up on the wall you can blow a spitball. It has to stick or it doesn't count. Advanced difficulty: Aim the spitballs to stick to the wall above someone's head.
- Ask strangers if you can take their picture. Almost everyone travels with a digital camera these days. There's probably not much to take pictures of in most airports, but there are always people. Sure, you might get strange looks, but you'll be meeting new people. Advanced difficulty: If anyone seems really keen to get their picture taken, ask if you can take a picture of their bum.
- "May I borrow your newspaper?" Why spend good money on a newspaper at the airport when someone else is sure to have one? What's more, no one can read the whole paper at once, there's all those sections. Just ask for the sports page, or the financials, or comics. Advanced difficulty: Ask the same person repeatedly. Super advanced difficulty: Once you obtain someone's newspaper, make a paper hat.
- Read over someone's shoulder. If you can't/won't borrow someone's paper, just find someone who is reading and read over their shoulder. Make audible comments on what you read. This is easiest if they are reading a newspaper, a bit more challenging if they are reading a magazine. Advanced difficulty: read over the shoulder of someone reading a novel.
- Wheelchair follies. Many airports have courtesy wheelchairs available for passenger convenience. Find one, sit down and start rolling. You might get some looks from the people who see you walk up to the chair and sit down, but don't let that bother you. Advanced difficulty: Find someone else willing to race. Super advanced difficulty: Take bets on the race.
- No Hootie, just blowfish. Airports have lots of windows/full length glass walls, so there should be no difficulty finding a place to try this. People on the other side of the glass will be ever so impressed. Advanced difficulty: Skip the blowfish, go for pressed ham. Just watch out for security.
- I will follow. All airports have myriad security personel. Some will be stationed at specific posts, other circulate. Find a security guard on patrol, and follow him. Keep at least 50 feet back. Stop when he stops, turn when he turns. When he figures out you might be following him, that's probably a good time to stop. Advanced difficulty: When he figures out you are following him and turns to look at you, turn around and look at someone behind you. Then keep following. Super advanced difficulty: Carry a notepad and make sure the guard sees you taking notes.
- All we need is music. Most airports do not play music over the PA — too many announcements. So find yourself a quiet corner, turn to face the wall, and start singing. Advanced difficulty: Skip the quiet corner, go straight to the departures lounge and sing there. Super advanced difficulty: Sing the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song. Loudly.
- They don't make chairs like they used to. Some chairs in airports are all welded and essentially indestrucible. Other chairs are held together with bolts. One handy feature of bolts is that they are generally removeable. Just remove enough bolts for the chair to collapse once any weight is on it, then sit a safe distance away and wait for some schmuck to sit down. Advanced difficulty: Laugh and point when someone does sit down and the chair collapses. Super advanced difficulty: Do this to a table instead.
- Make it look like you live in the airport. This is easily accomplished by packing a bathrobe in your carry-on bag. Just throw that on and stash your jacket in the bag instead. To add to the effect, rub your eyes so it looks like you just woke up. Hey, it worked for Tom Hanks. Advanced difficulty: Tell people that you're going to make waffles. Super advanced difficulty: Bring a waffle iron, make waffles. Ultra advanced difficulty: Try this in a small municipal airport.