Less than an hour after my Los Angeles-to-Seoul flight landed I was ordering a cappuccino and a heated tomato-and-mozzarella sandwich in a little airport cafe called Paris Baguette. But first I had to wait in a line of about nine or ten people, and the first thing I noticed was a medium-sized, brillo-haired, slightly heavyish American woman of about 50 rummaging through her handbag in order to find her wallet and pay the cashier.
She kept digging and somewhat frantically, like a determined raccoon sifting through a tipped-over garbage can or like George the terrier looking for that intercostal clavicle in Bringing Up Baby.
Everyone in line, trust me, was quietly exhaling and rolling their eyes without, you know, actually rolling them for fear of seeming rude and impatient. Brillo Lady finally found her light-gray wallet but it took at least 90 seconds. I know because I got my watch out around the 45-second mark and timed her. My unspoken words: “How long does it take to find your wallet, lady? Have you ever heard of putting your wallet and keys into a zippered side pocket and putting everything else in a big heap in the main part of the bag?”