This barely over 5ft woman asks me to join her for a smoke, she has a really hoarse voice so it figures. (I think it’s worth mentioning that I had been smoke-free for a while until I experienced -20 degrees in a tent, then smoking didn’t seem like such a bad idea). Long-story short, I join her.
She leads the way to the smoking lounge. I’m surprised that the Abu Dhabi airport has a proper smoking-lounge, with red couches, ash trays and AC, an upgrade from the usual glass cages in UAE airports. I sit there beside her, licking my wounds, missing Pakistan and not looking forward to the familiarity of Kenya. I sit there distractedly wondering what the hell is wrong with this blabbering new companion of mine and thinking of how I can sink the whole Etihad airline.
A Pakistani guy I had noticed earlier at the Etihad counter joins us. We had engaged in some conspiratory small talk at the counter – the kind of repetitive small talk that usually blossoms in the face of great social injustices, ie government office and bank queues, and in this case cancelled flight queues.
He offers me a pack of Gold Leaf, complete with the rotting lips
photo and health warning – my choice of respiratory destruction back in Karachi. I stopped licking my wounds, now enjoying the familiar taste, and listening to the Pakistani jamming on his 12-string guitar that he’d been walking around with. Sufficiently calm, I started half-listening to the still-talking American.
The Pakistani guy actually lives in Kenya, works for a seed company. ( I thought he could have been a rockstar coming for those Indian gigs at Carnivore cause he was also tattooed) Across from the 3 of us is a big, bald white guy, looks around 30 and rolls his own cigarettes. Turns out he is from Wales, m next destination, so we get talking. He is on his way to India, and Pakistan-India, same shit, lol, so I tell him what to expect. We swap email addresses and just like that, he offers me a ride and tour guide from the airport when I arrive! How awesome! That’s why you should talk to strangers.
I now turn my attention to the still-talking red haired woman. I am feeling a bit appreciative towards her, since if I didn’t follow her,
I wouldn’t have been in the middle of this interesting bunch. I actually start paying attention to her stories, that I conclude in the first minute are preposterous. She tells me about her friends being princes in the Emirates and that she usually parties with them in the UAE, that she’s only stuck at the airport because she can’t reach them
blablabla…I conclude she’s strange but harmless. By virtue of being an American (loud and opinionated) she speaks loudly, she’s so loud everyone in the room is listening, with that far-off look that eavesdroppers put on. I don’t know whether the Arabs in the room were listening to her though, them and their disdain for women, the Chinese too probably didn’t understand a word. ( yes, I am an advocate for stereotypes.) at some point she used an expression about Egypt being fucked up, getting us a long cold stare from a guy I guess was Egyptian. I’m not sure since he didn’t have his slaves with him.
Anyway, The Pakistani eventually left, and the conversation with the Welshman was ambling along pleasantly. Background vocals being provided by yours truly, Le Americano.
‘I’m a retired entertainer!’, she loudly volunteered when the conversation turned to occupations and lack thereof. ‘exotic dancing, adult industry, that kind of stuff’… … She didn’t wait for us to respond, whipping out a card from her handbag and handing it over to me.
All I saw was a lot of xxx’s and web addresses, and the words stripper, performer, webcam.
‘yeah, that’s an old card of mine, just don’t turn it around! Hahaha’ she said cackling madly.
Off course I turned it around, finding myself staring at a stark-naked picture of herself in a squatting position, and there her boobs were in all their completely rounded glory. It’s a very awkward feeling to see someone you just met naked, you feel like you know too much about them. I passed on the card to the Welshman, in a bid to spread out the embarrassment trying to make it clear to the audience that this woman was a stranger I’d just met ( in retrospect, why are we embarrassed by other people, it’s a very sad affair to be embarrassed of somebody)
In her loud fashion, she continued proclaiming that ‘they don’t look like than anymore!’ she went ahead to tell us that when they were new, they would float up to her chin as she swam…so anyone thinking of getting implants , know that you don’t need a life jacket. ‘now they are a bit saggy’ she concluded.
So I met a real life porno star, a title she refuses preferring performer. That’s a he’ll of a conversation starter. Next time you are at a party you can talk about the time someone you know met a performer.
In the next 24hours i spent with her stuck at the airport, I learnt about her 2 dogs ( even saw pictures of them as well, the dogs that is), her friends in LA, her stalker. I also got a whiff of her drug-addicted past and the shortcomings of breast implants. They gave her terrible back pain, so much that she had a full bag of pills that she was going to finish within a week. There were like 50 different pills and she had 5 different ones at a go…legal drug abuse?
She told me about her husband, 10 years younger and in the US army, and later as I allowed her to log in on Facebook using my phone, she told me it was their 5 year anniversary. As we ate together (more like as she shared my burger) she told me that I am a very respectful person for not hitting on her and honoring her marriage and that she was telling her husband about me and that she hoped he wouldn’t be jealous since she’d had some black boyfriends…errr…ok ‘just eat and act normal’ I thought. Come to think about it, after you see a naked picture of someone, nothing they say is TMI.
Later I took a crash course in Adult Industry 1010, no practicals please. She told me that a long time ago, performers got to choose their partners. She chose ‘guys that respect women’ I guess everything is relative, even respect. She also said present actors are no longer natural and are pumped up on Viagra ‘and that’s why they have veins and get red all over and stuff’ (her words). The money is better these days, but you don’t have a say in what you do and with who. Just FYI.
I must say for all her crazy and mysterious behaviour, she was a nice human being, amusing even. Just the kind of person that can help kill 24hours, but no more. She left as mysteriously as she came, we were having breakfast, she said she was going to the bathroom and never came back…so weird.
I guess 24hours in an airport can be interesting 🙂