Arriving early was a waste of time and unnecessary. Durango-LaPlata airport is a tiny regional airport. Departure gates lie just yards past security, which itself is just yards from the front doors and the curb where I said goodbye to my mom. The security checkpoint hadn’t opened yet and I stood forth or fifth in line waiting to enter the departure area.
After ten or fifteen minutes, the barrier opened and the line moved forward. When my turn came, I stepped up to the kiosk, slid my drivers license to the TSA man and held my phone boarding pass over a scanner. He’s got a bushy gray mustache and hair that looks overdue for a cut, likely due to pandemic restrictions.
“Pull down your mask, please” the man said, holding up my drivers license to compare with my face. Reading my California ID, he said, “Walnut Creek.”
“Yeah.” I pulled my mask away from one ear and looked the TSA man straight in the eyes while he tried to determine if I was a terrorist.
“Is the Neiman Marcus still there?” The TSA man says.
One eyebrow involuntarily cocked. Some kind of new quiz to outwit ISIS? “Yeah, it is. Why?”
“I did all the woodwork in there.” He held onto my ID while looking back down the line of waiting supplicants.
“It’s a beautiful store. A beautiful building.” I said, trying to maintain a friendly tone.
Held out between two fingers, he returned my ID. “Yes, it is. Have a safe trip.”
And it is a beautiful building, as far as modern commercial real estate goes. It was built five or six years ago in downtown Walnut Creek, across from Tiffany’s and an Apple Store. It has lime green wavy stained-glass windows and a plexiglass wind-art installation high on one wall, likely mandated by some civic building code.
But what I thought of as made m way to the body scanner and then retrieve my shoes and bag from the x-ray machine is the graffiti spray-painted across its white stone facade during the summer protests of George Floyd’s murder by police.
Still faintly visible after probably more than one attack with a sandblaster are the words, “Kill all the pigs.”