The constant chaos at LAX makes picking up and dropping off people a treacherous task. So how do you decide who’s worth making the trek to El Segundo for? KCRW asked listeners.
Oliver Goch’s quest for love led him to LAX.
“I love telling this story. It’s quite the romance. We met and we were friends for a little bit. And I wanted to make a move. And she’d given me signs. So I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I gotta do something. She’s just about to leave on this trip.’
… We go out to [see] live jazz music. Afterwards, we go to a bar. We get in my car and I drive her to her car. It's like the last possible second that I can do anything, and she just turns to me and says, ‘Oh, do you want to make out?’ I was like, ‘Oh, yes, of course.’
… We make out for a bit. And as she's leaving my car, I squeak out, ‘I can pick you up from the airport.’ And she says, ‘Oh, yeah, that'd be great.’ And then she goes on her trip. A month later, I come and pick her up from the airport. We've gone on like three more dates since then. And I'm driving her to the airport tomorrow morning.”
Carol Mendelsohn picks up her fiancee from the airport as a symbol that the fire is still alive, even though a fight always ensues during the journey.
“It's almost always the same, right? I show up and there's a ton of traffic and it takes me longer than I had imagined. It can take me 40 minutes from the entrance of the airport to terminal seven, which is where he flies United. … It’s maddening. Meanwhile, I see a phone call come in from him.
… And I dreadfully answer the call, I know what's about to happen. And he says, ‘Why didn't you leave earlier? You know it's going to be hell on earth. I've been traveling for seven hours or whatever it's been. And now I'm standing here waiting for you. I could have taken an Uber if you weren't going to be here on time.’
… It turns into a huge argument. I finally get there. He gets in the car, and we're both super sour. There's no kiss hello. It's not romantic. There's no, ‘I missed you so much.’ It's silence or it's bickering as we make our way home. And then I tell myself, ‘I'll never do this again.’ But then I do it over and over and over again.”
Neil Resnick reflects on younger days spending time with childhood friends.
“A group of us would be hard pressed — I mean really hard pressed — to find something interesting or fun to do. One of us would say, ‘Let's just go to LAX and run around and be crazy, and greet people when they came off airplanes, and wish people well as they were getting ready to take off.’ And that's what we did. It was complete insanity, and then, of course, everything changed. And there was no more fun going to an airport.”
Leslie Waxman refuses to ask loved ones to pick her up from the airport.
“It's such an ongoing disaster. And it just baffles me that it keeps getting worse and worse. There’s no good solution it seems like.
… I remember coming in, and I must have been on United and came in to gate seven, and a car was picking me up. And the poor guy — he was stuck over [at gate] two and it took him over an hour to even take that shortcut to get to me. If I could fly from any other airport, I would.”
In the words of Erin Bergren, “If I would help you hide a dead body, I will drive to LAX for you.”
“My close friends are my chosen family. And I will do a lot for them, they will do a lot for me. There are lots of things that you would do for your chosen family that you're not going to do for other people, like hold their hair back when they barf or help them move. Driving to LAX is just one of those things.
… I grew up in Pasadena, so driving to LAX was just a massive undertaking. It involves sacrificing an unblemished goat and praying for rain.
… I am a little bit more relaxed about driving to LAX now that I've moved to Mid City. It’s way less of a stressful hassle. But somehow with all of the construction, getting within a mile of LAX is relatively easy. [But] It's that last mile between the LAX area and the terminal that seems to be becoming more of a Dante-esque hellscape.”