Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I will now demonstrate…

If there was a nickel in my pocket for every time I heard that from a flight attendant (I don’t know what the politically correct term anymore for these folks is, I am not sure if there is a gender specific term – for example, is a female flight attendant a flight attendess, a male a flight attendant, a hermaphrodite a flight attendantdess) – but to prevent digression and straying away from the real content that eventually will become apparent to you (I hope – it is not yet apparent to me) I will get back on point, and simply say if I had a nickel for every time I was about to go through how to put on an oxygen mask, how to wear a life vest, and how to buckle a seat belt, I would probably have at least ten dollars – and that, plus a couple of those Biscoff crackers would get me through about 3/4ths of an inflight drink. I guess I will digress for a minute – these flights to Canada get a little tiresome – generally, I take the 7:21 flight out of Jacksonville – that flight is easy, it is mostly the seasoned and bored business travelers just ready to get the week underway, and not be bothered – then I sit in Atlanta for an hour – you know the spot, Terminal A, Budweiser Room, but I drink draft Coors Light. I board the 9:32 Toronto flight, a flying cardboard tube that they like to call a Canadair Region Jet 200 – I would hate to have flown on the 100, or perhaps I would have thoroughly enjoyed it, because if they sit us any closer together, then it is an orgy in the skies. I almost feel like I should be able to pull into a rental car lot and ask for the CRJ 200 – and be told that there are upgrades available – but then again, with all of the subsidies that the airlines get these days, I understand how difficult it is to actually provide a little more comfort than a Greyhound Bus in the skies (the really great news is that now I am a Delta Platinum Member – typically, that means you are entering into, well through, or done with a divorce, have a slight to moderate drinking problem, see your home two to five days per month, and may occasionally like to wear women’s clothing. I have not quite figured out what perks it affords me, because I was still stuffed next to the 600 pound tire tread engineer who thought it was fascinating the way that All Season Radials are marketed in the States, and even after moving, I can still hear him chuckling to himself with his brilliant line “All Season Radials mean “No Season Radials” – I hope I did not offend him by going and wedging myself into the bulkhead seat, but then again his arrogance probably comes from a long line Eugenics supporters and his superiority refuses to acknowledge that not everyone is too terribly interested in discussing wear marks in steel belted tires…especially while his stomach bounces into your lap with every slight bit of turbulence…)I guess I should preface those remarks (or finish those remarks) with a little self deprecation – I was sitting on the bed this morning, fresh out of the shower, and coughed, and my stomach moved like a bowl of Jello at a Baptist Revival – it convinced me that taking two weeks off from the gym was probably not the best weight management program, nor did it serve to make me feel any better when I wedged my fat ass into a pair of dress slacks as a test run before packing. I guess this week there will be no room service, I will eat the free mints from the lobby, and boxes of Raisin Bran until the only left to poop is my tongue – (I think we all know what I am talking about here – the Raisin Bran diet is the most effective diet in the world – it is the only enema that you eat) Now that you have that mental image of me shoving a box of cereal up my ass…let’s move on.

Domestic and North American flying has really become a royal pain in the ass. I very rarely meet an employee who looks or even feigns happiness – tonight I followed three flight attendesses with one flight attedantdess (now I am not a homophobe, nor am I expressing any negative connotations or derogatory remarks – hell, I tended bar at a gay nightclub in college) - but this individual should have been waltzing down a runway in the latest avant garde or couture fashion being offered – it was a swishing floating walk with hands and knee jerks and twitches – it was a little bit unsettling) who did nothing but bitch about the way Northwest and Delta rosters were going to be rolled together and they were going to have to find out if they could still fly four days a week to make a living. Now, I am not quite sure what all of that is about, but I can assure you, that if I were to walk into an acquisition and raise hell about the company that feeds my family – that my career would be short lived – but apparently, it is okay for a Delta employee to randomly stroll through Atlanta and complain incessantly about the folks who are paying their bills. Now those attitudes carry over into the swollen ankles that storm their way down the aisles with their drink carts, taking extra care to nail the shit of your funny bone, or the sleeping babies seat – if you are not happy, get another job – if your pissed, talk to your union rep, but in the interim, at least act like you give a shit, and don’t give me that crap that you are there for safety reasons – my guess is that empty cans of diet coke and snack packets are going to do very little as the panicked passengers on a burning plane rush past you through any opening they can find. (Don’t get me wrong, not all of the folks I come across are like this – the folks in Jacksonville, they are extremely nice – and have always been helpful – it is just when you hit the fatherland of Atlanta that you enter into the world of “Go Fuck Yourself – you fly Delta” – and the bad news is, they are the absolute best that I can find – the moral of the story, when offered a pile of shit for dinner, make sure to take the one with whipped cream on top)

Back to travel these days. Not everyone can understand it quite like those folks who do it every day – it is sort of like my marriage was – you just get resigned to the fact that you have no control, that you can make comments and suggestions, but in all reality the planes are going to sit on the runway like the piles of laundry, the help desk folks are going to be just as cold as those half cooked dinners, and you are going to have to just do it yourself if you plan on finding another route or getting laid. It is pretty much the standard these days – maybe apathy in many places has begun to take over much of what we do – I mean the cynic in me (I know you find it hard to believe that I am a cynic) – usually takes over, but I keep my comments reserved to a little read blog in the corner of the web (at last check you all had clicked on three adds, earning my blog a whopping three cents this month – thank you.) Then there is the activist in me that says I should stand up, raise a little hell in a professional way, and demand respect – but the last guy who did that was politely escorted into a little room and came out drooling with a red tag on his wrist. What can you do about it? I have written letter after letter. I have made phone call after phone call. I have even invited management to fly with me, incognito, just as a business traveler – but they are on private jets, and have very little, if anything to do with us folks – it is always nice to get the upgrade, and then watch the staff fiddle around with the inflight entertainment system until finally they realize that no one really knows what they are doing, it is always nice to walk into a clean lavatory and realize that there must have been a run on paper towels, it is nice to ask for a can of diet coke, and get it, along with one or two pieces of semi-melted ice. It is that half-assed mentality that I just don’t understand – give half the service, and hope that there is a plane full of optimists. Perhaps that is just a reflection of society in general. Give half of your best, and see what happens. Apparently, the tire tread engineer will never do that, he is actually talking with someone else about the virtues of good rubber on the road – holy crap, I really feel sorry for those folks back there – I suspect by now, I would have said, “Sir, my father was killed by a Michelin defective tire, and you have dredged up terrible memories. I would kindly ask you to please silence yourself so that I may reflect on the positive things about my loving and caring Dad versus being reminded of the failures of a tire tread engineer somewhere in your world”. I know that probably would have made him feel pretty bad, but it may (it MAY) have just quieted him down enough for me to enjoy the rest of my two hour flight.

I think my ass is asleep, or my backbone is coming through one of my cheeks – is it really weird to fly with one of those rubber o-rings to sit on? Anyway – the photograph, that’s me, and the plane on which I fly – I don’t know if you noticed or not, but my computer is at a 20 degree angle because the tray table is broken – not totally broken- just half broken – it’s a good thing I am an optimistic cynic – one day they may fix the damn thing, but for now, it will just have to do.

Until next time….


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