We spent Christmas Eve at the airport in Toronto where our son’s flight from LA was due to arrive at 11:00 p.m. Hardly the Christmas Eve depicted by Currier and Ives. No jingling sleigh rides on snow-covered trails or chestnuts roasting on an open fire for us. Instead it was standing elbow to elbow among a throng of other people impatiently waiting for their loved ones to arrive for Christmas. While we had already spent a month in Florida, our son had spent the month in Hollywood at the recording studio to work on his band’s second album. We had driven back to spend Christmas with our family and as we traditionally spend Christmas Eve with our only unattached son, we had offered to pick him up. We planned on having a festive Christmas Eve; maybe have some steak and lobster tails. That’s when we thought he was arriving at 6:00 p.m. Due to snowstorms the day before, many flights were delayed and some cancelled.
In the arrivals lounge I exchanged pleasantries with the lady beside me and she told me about her daughter who had married an American and now lived in Baltimore and how excited she was to see her. I, in turn explained about my son being a musician and the reason for his trip to LA. “What is the name of the band?” she asked eagerly. I explained she might not have heard about them yet but that they were on their way to becoming well known. We continued chatting when suddenly she asked, “is he tall?” I answered her and continued talking but then abruptly she asked, “does he have long hair?” I answered “no, that actually it is very short but that he may be wearing a togue as so many young men do”. She fell silent and so did I as we waited impatiently for our loved ones to emerge through the double doors of Canada Customs. “Maybe he is delayed because they are searching him for drugs”, she offered with a chuckle. “Oh, my son doesn’t do drugs” I stated. Again we fell silent and then, “does he have tattoos?” she inquired to which I replied in the affirmative, that they are strategically placed so they can be covered by his T-shirt. I could also feel this women’s curiosity about our musician son as she scanned the faces of the various male passengers.
By the nature of her questions I surmise she had a stereotypical impression of my son because he composes, plays guitar and is the frontman for a punk band. I wonder what her thoughts were when a clean-cut, boy-next-door young man, sporting a baseball cap, approached us with a cheerful grin. I hope she wasn’t disappointed.