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Tel Aviv Airport: I have a brief, very strange encounter, with an unusual man in the Tel Aviv airport
Posted by Douglas, Jun 12, 2008. 2556 views. ID = 1377

Tel Aviv Airport

Posted by Douglas, Jun 12, 2008. 2556 views. ID = 1377
This post was written in 13 minutes.
This is the first chapter in a series about my travels (some real, some imagined), and about a man who seems to keep following me everywhere.
This post has been awarded 29 stars by 7 readers.
This post is Part 1 of a writing series titled The Bovine Man.

The first time I saw him, I was in the airport in Tel Aviv. He was sitting all alone in the corner of the baggage claim area. He stared straight ahead, ignoring all the rushing frequent fliers who passed by with long, hurried strides. Short, and a bit stout, he was wearing a shabby suit coat that was both too long and too narrow for him. His pants were dirty and torn from being caught repeatedly under his heels.

He had widely set eyes with irises so large I could barely see the whites that surrounded them. His cheeks were plump and his lips were fat and pale under a long, crooked nose. The lower half of his face jutted out beneath his eyes in a manner that was positively bovine.

He puzzled me, this bovine man, sitting motionless and bored in the baggage claim area. I've been in enough airports to recognize the behaviors of arriving passengers, departing passengers, and the impatient loiterers who are waiting to say "Goodbye" or "Hello" to friends and loved ones. This man was none of these - neither an arriver nor a departer, neither a passenger nor a loved one. He was simply there, indifferent, uncaring, bored.

The throngs of eager, impatient travelers ignored him entirely as they rushed by in a hurry. Not a one of them so much as glanced in his direction, yet even so, they all seemed to be very much aware of him. I watched as, again and again, people rushing from one end of the airport to the other suddenly veered off their straight-line paths to make a wide arc around him - like two North magnetic poles that repelled each other with a force that grew stronger as they drew closer together. And still he sat there silent and still at the center of a clearly defined circle, a strange vortex of emptiness.

After I collected my luggage - one large suitcase with enough cool, light clothing to last me through a week in the middle of the Israeli desert - I had to walk past him on my way out of the airport. I found it nearly impossible to resist the pull of the crowd dragging me into its wide arc around the bovine man, but I am as stubborn as they come, and I pushed forward in a straight line. It was an eerie feeling, in the midst of these massed throngs of people, to suddenly find myself in that no-man's land, that peculiar vortex where no foot but my own was treading. I felt exposed and frightened, as though I had suddenly disappeared from the view of all the world, and had entered an alternate reality which included nothing but myself, the bovine man, and a small chunk of the Tel Aviv airport, twenty feet in diameter.

As I passed by him, I turned to look squarely at that strange, shabby man, and in that moment there was a quick flicker of movement, and of recognition, His wide set, droopy eyes turned toward me, and those black irises glinted with the harsh reflection of the overhead lights. I stumbled and nearly fell, but caught my balance by grabbing the back of an empty chair. My hand brushed against his shoulder, and I felt a damp and frightening sort of dread that coursed from his body directly into mine. My arm jolted back with the same involuntary motion that comes from touching an electrified fence. I muttered an almost inaudible apology and quickly pressed forward to rejoin the crowds on the other side of the empty circle.

As I walked out of the airport into the dry heat of a Mediterranean afternoon, the warm sunlight did nothing to stop the cold chill that crept up my spine and down my arms, and I could not help but think: He was there waiting for someone after all...

Copyright 2008 Douglas. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 29 stars by 7 readers.
This post is Part 1 of a writing series titled The Bovine Man. The next part of this series can be found here: Dead Sea Interlude.
This is a revised version of a post. Click here to view the original version


Jun 12, 2008
Your physics teacher should turn over in his grave (if he is in one). Positively Charged?? Magnetic poles? Why not two North (or South) Magnetic Poles
   ~Posted by MrPhysics, Jun 12, 2008

Jun 12, 2008
I need to have a chat with that teacher...he should have taught me better than that...Oh, wait, I think he did. :P

Anyway, it's fixed now. Thanks.
   ~Posted by Douglas, Jun 12, 2008

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