Rule #1. When at the Airport, Don’t mess with TSA. Rarely will a confrontation with TSA staff end well. Don’t try and deceive them or cut corners on the rules. Travel can be challenging enough, so just “play nice”.
Apparently I’m still dwelling on my recent experience with pain-in-the-@$$ passengers …
The Flight Attendant asked for our attention. As usual, most ignored her but she was patient and asked again, this time using a sarcastic tone. It was a small commuter jet and she stood at the front, hands on her hips, smiling deviously. With everybody looking on, she announced that today was her last day and this, her last flight. She pulled out the demo-seatbelt, held it up and then tossed it back in the cabinet. The yellow life jacket, oxygen mask and safety card soon followed the path of the seatbelt as she stood there grinning from ear to ear.
She then said what I imagine every Flight Attendant wishes they could say; that if you are too stupid to not know how to use a seatbelt, you’ve got bigger problems than a seatbelt demonstration can fix. The whole plane was giggling. She then told us that we will not be flying over water so forget about the life vest, that if the oxygen mask falls, to do our best but realistically, we’re probably screwed anyway and to forget about the safety card, it’s a dull read. At this point, the laughter was so loud, I was surprised that the Pilot didn’t pop his head out of the cockpit. She then smiled and told us to relax and enjoy the flight. She was my new hero. I’ll bet she felt wonderful getting that off her chest, I know I would.
This happened a couple of years ago and I think of her every time I hear the spiel. It resonated with me. Think of the amount of steps you have to endure just to actually get on a plane, from navigating the schedules, buying the ticket, getting to the airport and then making sure you comply with all of the TSA requirements and procedures and then, if you’re lucky, getting physically on the plane, only to have someone then demand your full attention, while they explain the proper use of a seatbelt as if you just crawled out from under a rock.
Clearly, I’ve spent too much time on airplanes this year as I’m getting kinda bitchy. Indulge me though for just one more gripe.
Earlier this year, we flew to Vietnam, Cambodia and China. When the plane landed, the passengers grabbed their luggage and beat a path off the plane as if someone had yelled fire. It was glorious. This happened in all three countries and it was impressive. For some bizarre reason, we (people who live in America), are at our leisure when we travel. We land, the door opens and people just take their time. Ironically, it’s not the senior citizens. They usually have the courtesy to wait in their seats, allowing everyone else to exit. It’s everybody else. They chit-chat with fellow passengers and linger in the aisle as they casually pull their carry-on luggage from the overhead storage, while everybody else behind them waits and waits.
Today, I flew domestically and all of the above happened. It was completely maddening! So to all the inconsiderate (fill in the blank) passengers, who I desperately want to beat, grab your (fill in the blank) and get the (fill in the blank) off the damn plane! I keep hoping for the Flight Attendant who announces “today is my last day and this is my last flight” as she is jabbing these people in the backside with a cattle prod. Oh, dare to dream…
One of the greatest gifts of travel is that it forces you to interact with the world. I’m a lousy “interactor” but I love to watch people. I like “interesting”. I can sit in an airport for hours just watching people as they go about their lives. It redefines what is “normal”, although I’m beginning to believe that “normal” doesn’t even exist anymore.
My problem is that there is not enough time to talk to everyone that peaks my interest; I’m curious about everything and I want to write it all down. Also, I assume that others are just as curious as I am. Wrong! Unfortunately, I also haven’t figured out a way to approach people and ask, what can sometimes be difficult questions, without bothering or offending the person(s).
The truth is that the people that I’m interested in don’t have to explain their choices or decisions to me or anyone else. But I wish they would. I would like to truly understand and learn as I’m certain some of their answers would be fascinating and very enlightening. I would love to spend at least 5 minutes, with each of the three listed below, and just listen…
Three different stories, three different sets of lives. What they appear to all have in common though, is that they are each very passionate in guiding the direction of the life they’ve chosen to live. We should all strive to learn the “why” and then maybe, we too would understand.