160331 Airport Conversations PhotoHe was probably in his late 40s, had a beard, was obviously as tired and achy as the rest of us fresh off a 5:30 am flight and destined for a two-hour layover in Dallas-Fort Worth. Most of our fellow travelers headed out to the myriad of restaurants nearby, a couple of us plugged in and hunkered down to do some work.
Our bearded friend made a phone call, began pacing the line of windows. As some people get when they’re overtired, he spoke loudly. He was, in fact, impossible not to hear. Here’s the gist:
“I’ll be travelling all day … yeah, cancel everything. No, no idea when I can reschedule . . . It’s my dad – no, he’s fine . . .”
It seemed, as our friend briefly filled in whoever was on the other side of the line, that his father had fallen and broken something several weeks back. He was healing fine, that was clear, but …
“He simply can’t do the hospital’s rehab program, he’s just not capable No, he’s sharp as a tack, but it’ll take him forever to rehab this and the hospital can’t wait – well, insurance won’t pay for the time this will take.
“No, he can’t go home, it’s just not set up for someone as non-ambulatory as him … even if I could line up help – and it’d have to be twenty-four/seven – we’d have to get him out of the house soon.
“When will I be back? Well, I have to find a facility for him to go to that can do his rehab, then figure out where he’ll live after. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to sell the house for him . . . well, one thing at a time, I guess.”
He wrapped it up shortly after, probably went off in search of coffee for the long, long day and week ahead of him.
We are an aging society; people live far longer than they ever have. So, it’s a pretty decent bet that this type of conversation is played out in airports, and train and bus stations on a fairly regular basis. With a modicum of planning, there’s really no need it should.