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Posts Tagged ‘tourist’

So, I feel like my ears are being raped by CNN right now.  OK, that is a weird way to start a blog, but it is true.  I am in transit to a conference in Portland, Oregon and blasting through every speaker of O’Hare and also in the Minneapolis airport is the trial of the mother that allegedly killed her daughter.  I think her name is Casey.  Apparently it is a “Developing” story, but so far it has been a “Will someone please stick knives into both of my ears” story.  I am seriously in agony right now.

Which brings me to today’s blog topic:  When did travelling begin to seriously ‘Suck Ass’?  I actually thought seriously about the appropriate description of the state of travelling today, and after serious mental deliberation, and considering the numerous options, I finally settled on ‘Suck Ass’ as the best label for United States travel today.  A major part of the negative experience are the travellers themselves.  I understand that in a ‘Post 9-11’ world, as everyone calls it, air travel is especially an arduous experience with long lines, heightened security and scanners that reveal your private parts.  On a side note:  I am proud to say that the woman who did my scan at O’Hare gave me an especially bigger than usual smile upon seeing I was not concealing anything dangerous and allowed me to move forward to the air terminals.  I thought the pat down in the private room was a little over the top, but everyone is asked to turn their head and cough.  Right?

I digress.  the problem with travel these days are the travellers.  I am telling you, the workers at O’Hare went out of their way to be super nice.  I got ‘good mornings’, ‘how are you today sir’, ‘let me help you with that’, ‘you need a bin?’, ‘have a great day’, from just about everyone.  Now, if you read my blog, you know that people are nice to me where ever I go, it must be my face or something, but this was beyond just my ‘entice people to talk to me in spite of my desire to NOT talk to them’ personality.  These airport employees were genuinely trying to make the experience as pleasant as possible.  So why are people so cantankerous?  Here is a list of behaviors that I simply think are uncalled for:

1.  Employee – “That will be 25 bucks to check your bag.”
Traveller – “What?!?  That’s highway robbery.  This is an outrage!”

Guess what?  You’re right, but you know what, the person at the counter is not going to disobey their company’s rules because you think the baggage charge is unfair.  Unless you have been living under a rock, you knew that you were going to be charged, so don’t act so surprised.  So, shut up, pay your 25 bucks, and get out of line so I can get my boarding pass.  Next time fly Southwest and then you can complain about not having a seat assignment.

2.  Employee – “Sorry ma’am, but your carry-on is too big, we are going to have to check it for free.
Traveller – “What?!?  It fit on the other plane!  You guys suck.  Huff and puff.  Give up bag begrudgingly.

Part of the reason these things bug me is because these travellers never make their complaints private or quietly.  They want everyone in ear shot to know that they have been wronged by the system.  What makes it even worse when they look around for perfect strangers to join their cause.  They look at you, or even say to you, “This sucks right?”  Don’t involve me in your tirade.  You want to start a revolution?  Pick a better topic and just thank your lucky stars that you have the means to take an airplane in the first place.  You can literally go across the country in FOUR FREAKIN’ HOURS!  How awesome is that?  Chill out.

3.  Travellers rushing to the door and waiting in long lines and ‘protecting’ their spot.

If you are a frequent traveller of the skies, I have a secret to tell you:  Whether you are first in line or last in line, your seat is the same and the plane will not leave without you.  You are rushing to sit down and wait for everyone else.  This is also true on the other side.  No matter how quickly you get off the plane, your luggage will arrive the same time as mine.  You are rushing to wait at the baggage carousel.  Chill out.

4.  Flight Attendant – ‘Please turn your cell phone off.”
Traveler either does not turn off their cell phone right away or does so with an attitude.  Your phone call or text is not that important.

5.  My favorite traveler annoying behavior only occurs during the winter.  People pissed off because they have to wait for the wings of the plane to be de-iced.  Seriously?  A similar version of this happened to me in Paris, France.  A bomb threat was called in and they had to unload every plan at Charles De Gaulle.  Most people were patient, but there were a number of travellers that were openly complaining about the delays.  Do you want to take a guess to what nationality these people were?  You guessed it, Americans.

Well, travelling does suck ass, but I bet it would be a lot better if people were a little less angry about it and took a moment to realize how convenient we have it here.  As long as turbulence is low, landings are safe, flight attendants are cute, and I get my ginger ale, I’ll be happy.  I do miss free food and a higher percentage of flights with in-flight movies, but what are you going to do.  Besides, if you really hate flying, there is always the bus.  You think the people on plains are bad, wait to you see the freak show on Greyhound.  In the mean time, chill out.

In order to make my flying experience tolerable, I have a few rituals/beliefs.  You see I am not afraid of flying, but I am a nervous flyer.  Here is a list of my flying rituals/beliefs (Not a single one of these is exaggerated):

  1. I believe if a cell phone is left on it will cause the plane to crash
  2. I’d rather pee on myself than get up while the fasten your seatbelts sign is illuminated
  3. If someone else gets up while the fasten your seatbelts sign is on the plane will crash
  4. I think take off and landing are the most likely times the plane will crash
  5. I am most nervous during takeoffs, planes rarely crash when landing.  Not true, but I believe it which is all that matters.
  6. Once I hear that first ‘ding’ I believe everything will be OK
  7. Once the plane is at cruising altitude, it should never go down for any reason.  It can go up to a higher altitude, but not down until landing.  Going down to land is OK.
  8. If I don’t drink ginger ale, the plane will crash.
  9. If there is a baby on board the plane, the plane is less likely to crash, not impossible, just highly unlikely
  10. I have the same rituals and prayer on the tarmac to takeoff and I never miss a part of the ritual or prayer.  If I forget something, the plane will crash

I especially hate turbulence.  If I am not sitting next to my wife or my kids, I need two things to happen for me to remain calm during turbulence, and they both involve the flight attendants.
1.  Flight attendants need to be unphased by the plane shaking.  If they show any fear on their face whatsoever, I will FREAK out.  The only exception to this are clouds.  I understand why a plane experiences turbulence in clouds, and therefore I am OK with cloud turbulence.  My brain soothes me with knowledge.
2.  Secondly, and linked to the first, is that the attendants must be good looking.  They have to be a minimum of a 6 on the flight attendant beauty scale.  This is also true for men.  When it comes to flight attendants, I am bisexual.  If I am going to obtain solace in your calm face, it must be a face that I do not mind looking at.  Being a good looking flight attendant should be a requirement for the job.

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I am not anti fat people.  I am overweight myself, but is there anything more demoralizing than needing a seat belt extender when you fly.  I guess it could be worse, you could need to buy two seats.  I’m just sayin …

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