Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Travel Entertainment

If you’ve read my blog for awhile you know that I do a fair amount of traveling. I don’t have Platinum Medallion, or even Gold Medallion, status with Delta but I do take a few trips every year. They are all an adventure; whether I’m on a mission trip to a far away land, or a quick trip to the West Coast to visit my family. And yes, I get to see some fascinating places and things. But sometimes the most entertaining part of the trip happens at the airport. Our last trip was to Portland, OR for our son’s wedding and that trip alone had enough for a short story.

It all started when I went through security. I have artificial knees so after I unpack my computer and one quart bag of liquids, take off my shoes and jacket, and stuff all of that into two or three of those special trays I get to sound the alarms. At this point, I pretty much tell the TSA agent that he’s blocking the path to the “holding area” for potential criminals. As always, I waited in the holding area for a “female assist” agent to show up. She proceeds to take me to the “pat-down” area where I am wanded with the special “we know you’ve got metal on you somewhere” wand and somewhat appropriately patted down. Typically the women who do the pat-down lightly brush over my arms, legs and torso, with particular emphasis on my knees. Not this time. This time I’m fairly certain that the TSA agent responsible for protecting the rest of the world from the likes of me was instead doing a body fat analysis. Clearly she had lost track of the real goal. Let me just say, she was serious about her pat down and didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor either. When I told her I was expecting a body fat analysis when she got done she didn’t even smile. I want to believe she didn’t hear me, but I can’t be sure.

After grabbing some water bottles and food for the flight, we headed for the gate. I’d say we arrived to the gate a good hour to hour and a quarter before the flight was scheduled to depart. Even at that point, there were already people lined up to get on the plane. Really people? Do you think they’ll leave without you? Well, they will if you are late getting on the plane, but it’s not like they were getting ready to load. I understand the need to get on early to grab a spot for your suitcase in the overhead, but still, lining up an HOUR in advance? And, the funny part is, I think some of the people were flying first class. They get to go on first anyway. But, it gets better. The gate agent came on the loud speaker to inform us that our plane would be delayed at least 30 minutes, yet no one moved out of that line. When the departure time was pushed back another 30 minutes they still remained. I think it was the third delay announcement that finally provoked them, not to move, oh no, but to sit down. IN LINE!

There was more that happened before we left Minneapolis, but I don’t want to run out of room to tell you what happened after the flight home. When we arrived in Minneapolis I made a quick stop at the restroom. Another woman entered at the same time I did as her husband waited outside the door. Apparently, they were on an outgoing flight and should have been with the people in that line by the gate. We were both in the midst of washing our hands when I hear (and John sees) her husband yelling into the restroom, “Hurry up, we’re going to miss our flight!” Now, it takes about 15 – 20 minutes to load passengers into an airplane and less than five to use the restroom and wash your hands. If they’d already started the loading process, perhaps she should have waited until she got on the plane. If not, there was plenty of time. She left the bathroom without even drying her hands. When I emerged from the restroom, John was still laughing.

But then, what I considered to be the best entertainment of all happened. There was a guy on our flight who had a cat inside a cat carrier on the plane with him. While totally legal I’m still not convinced that the people with cat allergies are happy. Anyway, as this man headed to the baggage claim area the cat was letting the entire crowd know that he’d had just about enough of his stupid carrier and meowed about every 15 seconds. That, in itself, wasn’t so entertaining but once a woman started meowing back it started to get humorous. It went something like this: CAT: “meow,” WOMAN: “meow,” CAT: “meow,” WOMAN: “meow,” and on and on until the cat and woman parted ways. It still cracks me up.

It’s too bad people can no longer just go to the airport and hang around. There really is some great entertainment to be had there. On the other hand, you can probably find a similar kind of entertainment anywhere you find a crowd because seriously, people are funny.

1 comment:

smilingpaul said...

Maybe those people who lined up before boarding usually fly Southwest where you have to line up days before the flight in order to find a good seat. I see that a lot too, it's always the first class people standing on the little red/blue carpet. I think they like everyone to know where they'll be sitting drinking free wine while your in a middle seat between two linebackers.