Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


You never know

I’m at the international terminal at LAX waiting in the bar before boarding my flight to London in a bit to see Pere Ubu.

I’m having a surprisingly good pizza — the only food the bar still has on offer, from a menu that was limited to begin with — and also a Sam Adams. No, it’s not a brown ale, but it fills the need for some sort of alcohol after the 90-minute ordeal of conflicting international travel dictates from British Airways, American Airlines (who are handling this leg of it), the UK gov’t. with some very shifting rules, and a whole bunch of confusion that resulted in me buying a COVID test in England that I’m pretty sure I don’t need for £49 (about $60 today) just so that I can complete a Passenger Travel Locator form that apparently will no longer be needed as of Friday.

So, all of that now resolved, and having a beer, and feeling more relaxed, I see a man come in with his two daughters and sit at the table next to me. It’s human nature, when stress is relieved, to suddenly become generous of spirit, isn’t it? It’s certainly my nature. It’s a way of saying back to the gods, “Okay, thank you, you resolved that, and now I don’t need to cancel my trip or burst a blood vessel, and so now I wish all a hearty hello.” I glance over at the dad traveling with kids and recognize a somewhat younger version of myself, a guy traveling with a kid or two, these two looking to be 7 and 9 or thereabouts, and it recalls for me those earlier days. He’s wearing a black ball cap, and the two girls are as well, each of them with shining beautiful blonde hair and they all are well-behaved, and studying their phones and chatting while awaiting whatever they’ve ordered.

“Beautiful girls,” I venture.

The man looks over.

“I have kids,” I say. “Two boys and a girl. I love them all, but there is something about daughters.” I don’t know what I mean by this, truly, because I love my three kids equally, and I’m proud of all three of them, except maybe I mean this: Good for you, pal, in having these radiant girls.

“Thank you,” he says, with a grin.

But there’s a bit of a smirk, and the one girl asks the other something, then the middle one says something to their dad. Now I’m wondering if perhaps they’re not both actually his. Maybe I’ve misread the relationship: Doesn’t the one look a little different?

“I’m sorry,” I say. “Did I get it wrong? They’re not both your daughters?”

“Actually,” he says, “they’re my sons.”

“Uh. Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” he says in a friendly manner. “They get it all the time.”

No doubt.

Note to self: The correct line is this: “Those are some very good-looking children.”

But I don’t envision ever again venturing down this path.

2 Responses to “You never know”

  1. Joe Stafford Says:

    Didn’t see that coming. Safe trip Lee.

  2. Dan Says:

    Do they require any vision screenings for these trips?

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