You can tell much about a person by how they wait tables. The worse the place, the more you can tell. Do they take pride in their work in spite of their surroundings? Transcending the sullen and dull with a mote of warm light? Or, as my TSA associates did, let it be known, in every single movement, how much they loathe their working lives, and you for spending your moments with them? St. Christoper, in my rendering, does not look kindly upon their souls.
Yet, tonight, at the Sam Adam’s bar, by gate 62, at Newark Airport, was a bright eyed, brown haired, wonder of service, with a killer smile, who transformed my dull hours waiting for a long flight into the extraordinary. I watched her dance between tables, charming and serving, making the stress and sadness that accumulates in these hopeless places melt away. There is a rare kind of wonder in watching joy and proficiency combine. Much too young to call me hon’ (as in honey), she did it anyway, which had it’s own unintentional charm.
There should be a shrine in your honor in every airport bar. A beacon of hope for the huddled masses stuck for far too long in the interstitial purgatory of airports, place so bereft of life that they are driven to drink in such unfortunate confines.
I deem you Nina, the innocent unknowing savior of my pre-red-eye flight evening, as the new patron saint of the weary traveler. May all who endure the red-eye, the flight delay, and all mindless time in soulless places, learn the wonders of your charms.