“Are you sure these are the large-sized lattes?” I asked the lady at the airport snack bar.
“Yes, I gave each of you larges.”
“Then why are they so small?” my wife said as my two teenaged daughters fiddled with the cups with one hand.
“I gave all four of you larges. This one is the medium size.” She slammed a tiny paper cup on the counter. We looked at the stack of upside down cups by her register and deducted that the thimble-sized cups must have been the small size. “They have milk, but you have to add the sugar yourselves.”
We were tired from the coast to coast red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale, but we could have sworn the medium-sized lattes in California contained twice the hot liquid.
“That’ll be $13.50.”
Of course we could have purchased a large bag of ground coffee in the grocery store for the same price, but I knew we were paying for the Florida airport, not the product.
A gush of hot humid air swirled at our backs, since we were close to the exit ramp. Cold airport air beat at our faces, and I imagined the combination of wind temperatures creating an indoor funnel cloud.
“Keep the change. I told the lady.”
“This is only $13 dollars.”
I reached in a free pocket and exhumed two quarters. “Here, thank you.”
We sat and sipped slowly. I imagined every swallow costing 50 cents.
“Welcome to Florida!” a sign blinked overhead.
“Dad, I’m starved. Can I get a blueberry muffin?” My youngest daughter asked.
“Sure, I’ll go with you. Your mom and sister are probably stuffed from the airplane nuts.”
We headed down the east wing of the airport. The early morning sun peeked through the large windows. We passed Henry’s Hotdogs and a burrito stand. The next food vendor was Dunkin’ Donuts. My daughter asked to journey a little further to find something that resembled food that someone would eat at six in the morning.
“Hey you,” a deep voice called. “You passed the point of no return sign. Now you will both have to walk all around the terminal and go through security again.”
“But we were just looking for breakfast,” I said.
“You cannot come back this way. You will also have to show your identification again.”
“We don’t have any identification,” I said. “My wife is carrying that in her purse.”
“Then you’ll have to call her. Sorry.”
My wife finally found us and handed us our IDs at arm’s length. My daughter and I proceeded the long trail back to security.”
“Oh no, not this again,” My daughter exclaimed. “The line is twice as long as the first time we came though.”
An overhead Marquis scrolled red dot matrix styled words. “Safety is our priority. Be prepared to remove your shoes and outer garments. Welcome to Florida!”