The world is full of different kinds of places. Some are welcoming, others dangerous, some memorizing and others comfortable and relaxing. But then there's this one place on the edge of Queens, New York that has a category all its own. It's a place of sorrow, resentment, and distrust, where regular people often get treated like criminals, soggy old sandwiches cost $15, lines move slower than paraplegic sloths, and sweaty middle-aged men can legally grope you as they see fit. I am, of course, talking about the dreaded JFK Airport.
To say I detest the place would be a drastic understatement. Every time I go there (which unfortunately has been a lot), I can't help but quiver like a dog that knows it's on the way to the vet to get fixed. Sometimes, the horror begins even before I walk through the (occasionally broken) revolving metal doors. I kid you not, this past January, my mom and I were quite literally hit by a car (well, technically our car was hit) as we were parked in the parking lot outside the place. We weren't even there yet and were already saddled with motor vehicle damages. And yes, I blame JFK because we were hit by the airport's own car service. They were already out to get us!
However, without fail, the worst of it always occurs once I'm inside. I've gotten so used to being 'randomly selected' while going through security check that getting groped by sweaty security guards now feels about as common as brushing my teeth. Yes, despite me acting relaxed by now, the guy always talks as if I'm a criminal. "Sir! Stand still! Do not move. Keep your arms up, spread your legs. I will now run the back of my hand up and down to see if you have any illegal substances. If you so choose, we can do this behind closed doors."
That last part is the part the drives me crazy. Behind closed doors? No! We're doing this right here. In front of everyone. If you're gonna grope me, I'm gonna make it just as awkward for you as it is for me. Closed doors? What kind of fool do you think I am!
And it doesn't end there. That is only the beginning, because one I'm through and have to walk towards my gate, I have the pleasure of making my way through hordes of angry, stressed people. I guess I can't really blame them since they're dealing with the same horror as me, but it still doesn't make things any easier. Not to mention, the several times I've bumped into people (I am a very clumsy person with a poor sense of spacial awareness), I'm met with curses and raised fists. That is, of course, unless I'm lucky enough for the person to be Canadian. Then it's an "I'm sorry," despite the fact it's usually my fault.
Worst of all, however, is the potential of what can happen next, after I reach the gate. Delays, cancellations, and all the associated insanity that comes with it. I've had delays in other places, but nowhere has it happened so frequently as in JFK. And if you so happen to have a night flight that gets cancelled, do you know where they send you? A Holiday Inn in Queens! (I shutter internally at the mere thought). It's something I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy, yet according to the airport it is common policy.
I know what some of you may be thinking, 'Hey, what about LaGuardia or Newark airports? Why don't you just look for fights there instead?' Well, I have thought of that, and unfortunately LaGuardia does not have flights where I happen to be going and Newark... well... it's New Jersey (just let that info sink in). Therefore, I am often left with no other option. Sometimes the world can be cruel.