In the summer of 1982, I was sixteen years old, and had studied German in high school for two years. I was really good at it, and could keep up in a lot of conversations.
My mom, dad, sister, and I were at the TWA terminal at LAX
waiting for my grandmother to arrive on a 727 from Tulsa via Oklahoma City. In those days, TWA had a huge presence at LAX
, and their terminal was always busy. Consequently, any seat that was vacated was going to be lost. I was seated next to two German-speaking women, and I could overhear bits and pieces of their conversation.
At one point, an extraordinarily handsome man that sat directly within view of myself and the German women. Suddenly, they perked up and starting talking to each other loudly enough for me to understand every word...
"Siehst du ihm?" "Ja, Ich sehe ihm...so schön er ist!" "Schau an seine Brust - Ich möchte für ihm ein Knopf gelossen!" (Do you see him? Yes, I see him - he is so handsome! Look at his chest - I'd like for him to lose a button!)
I didn't know what a "Knopf" was, but I figured out that they were undressing the man and weren't trying to hide it, because they figured "who here speaks German? Certainly not this little American teenager?".
I nearly wet my pants...I couldn't say anything (let alone move a muscle) as I was trying SO hard not to laugh. I finally managed to get up and went out of sight...I just kept walking and walking around the round terminal slowly letting it out. When the women finally left I returned back to my seat, the women had gone, and told mom and dad what happened.
You never know what you're going to hear at an airport, do you?
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