These are the sounds of McCarran International Airport, in no particular order:
- The smooth jazz stylings of the Rat Pack, Ella Fitzgerald, and their assorted contemporaries, on an endless loop of smooth, smooth jazziness tinged with a wee bit of whatever it is that alcohol sounds like
- Gate announcements — MR. [BADLY MISPRONOUNCED NAME] AND YOUR PARTY, PLEASE REPORT TO GATE [WHATEVER]. YOUR FLIGHT IS ABOUT TO LEAVE.
- Security announcements (or, rather, the same security announcement, played at regular intervals throughout the day)
- The constant low hum of conversation, some of it among people actually present in the terminal rather than over cell phones
- Very nearly inaudible televisions turned to Fox News, CNN, or (rarely) some other 24-hour news
- In general: the perpetual ringing and binging and jingling and pinging and zinging and dinging and siren-howling of an apparently infinite number of game machines, available both out in the open and in cozy little closed-off gaming lounges (for cozy, read: small and a bit dingy, but “private” and perhaps “classy” — or something like that — ideal for people who want slightly smaller audiences for their gambling, I suppose)
- In particular: that one wretched machine near my gate that keeps playing just one “hallelujah” from Handel. Just one. Loudly. A lot. In celebration of…well, not much, as far as I can tell, because it has yet to be followed by anyone actually cashing out.
Luckily, the terminal is well insulated against the roar of engines, so no one has to suffer through the deafening sounds of incoming or departing aircraft. Speaking as someone who’s going to be here for roughly EVER (OK, only about 3 more hours), I am grateful for this small mercy.
Please send help soon.