To Those I Didn’t Have a Chance to Complain About in Person

As I’m sure you’ve surmised, based on the silence recently, things have been pretty busy. Part of that was a whirlwind week in Minneapolis, learning the final touches of my role at the new company, and part of it is some extracurricular work I’ve been trying to accomplish. Based on time constraints, then, I’d like to addresses a series of comments to various people who were connected to my flight last week.

To my cab driver. I’m sorry I was so short with you. I’ve never waited 35 minutes for a cab before, and I know that you guys were probably busy at 6:20 AM. When I’m actually getting out of the house on time, though, you have to understand that I’m pretty irritated that external forces would threaten to make me late anyway. To your credit, you went the way I’d have chosen to the airport with minimal prompting, and you drove like it mattered how long it took. I was sorry by the time we got to the airport for being grumpy, and I hope the extra tip by way of apology made your busy morning a little bit better.

To Verizon. Fuck you. Twice. Alison and I happened to be flying out within 5-10 minutes from each other to different cities and from different terminals, so we made a date to meet for a cup of tea and a hug before we passed through security. Now, I’m not on time all that frequently, but when I am, I’m really going to need cell coverage. When there’s only a few minutes budgeted to meet an impatient woman, wandering around with her calls and texts not ringing through does not help. The only reason violence has not ensued is that we ran into each other through persistent pacing and I was not off to Minneapolis without my hug.

If I ever see you at Reagan National Airport, I will punch you in the face.

To the lady at breakfast. It’s not every day that I see someone who has got to be at least 75 playing a Nintendo DSi while munching on a cinnabon, waiting for a plane. I’m not clear whether I was more startled that you were playing a video game system, or that you’d acquired a hot pink accessory case for it. I like to think that you stole it from your granddaughter, and that you’re playing Brain Age in the airport to stave off dementia. Because anything that entertaining early in the morning is going to prompt me to take speculation to extremes. I totally love that you turned so I couldn’t see the screen. That only made me wonder whether you’ve somehow found a porn app.

To the gentleman in the bathroom. You’re lucky you weren’t on my flight. I recognize that there is some disagreement among the various airlines regarding what size bag actually constitutes a carry-on, but here’s a hint: if you have that much trouble dragging it out of the bathroom stall, it’s probably too big. Oh, and speaking of trouble, you have a lot of guts coming out of that stall while anyone remained in the bathroom who heard the noises coming out of you. I’m referring to both the flatulence and the grunting. Had you been on my flight, that four-foot carry-on better have contained either a case of Pepto, or a parachute. Preferably both.

To the absentee bag owner. Let’s review standard procedure: arrive at airport; check in; pass through security; proceed to gate; order food and cup of coffee; prepare coffee while waiting for hot and delicious breakfast sandwich. Sound about right? Only, when you leave a huge carry-on sitting in front of the coffee bar unattended, it means that the slow process of waiting for people to finish adding cream and sugar is exacerbated by the awkward angles they have to take to reach the dispensers. The strange part was that even as the crowd thinned out, I couldn’t identify anyone who owned the bag. Just a note for next time, the only reason I didn’t call TSA to have your bag taken and exploded was that I didn’t think I’d have time to eat my hot and delicious breakfast sandwich and observe the destruction of your personal goods. Don’t ever slow me down on my way to Coffee.

To my teammates. I did see you standing over by the gate, and sorry on the chance that you thought my focus on the previously mentioned hot and delicious breakfast sandwich was excessive. In my defense, it had bacon and cheese, so I’m confident that if we’d discussed it, you would have forgiven me. For future reference, though, when the scheduled departure time is 8:35 and they’re asking us to begin boarding at 7:50 … I call bullshit. As slow as people are, it doesn’t take half an hour to get on the plane and I’m not going to be in first 80% of passengers unless I have baggage for which to find a spot overhead. Getting on early only seems like extra time to 1) sweat in the stuffy air, and 2) tempt your neighbors to start conversations. I’m not down with either those options.

To self. You always overheat at the airport. Was wolfing a hot breakfast sandwich, regardless of how delicious, and a large cup of coffee really a good idea? That was a rhetorical question, stupid. It had bacon and cheese.

To Eric Seidel. Not really. If you were actually a poker legend, playing PokerStars furiously on your iPad as we make our way down the gangplank onto the plane would be completely reasonable. You’d be winning and losing fortunes, to the adulation of hordes of wannabe millionaires. But you aren’t a famous card player, so trying desperately to get in a couple extra hands of HORSE is just a neon sign pointing to the fact that you have a gambling addiction. I double-checked my ticket to make sure we were on our way north instead of out to Vegas.

This will never, ever happen to you on a plane.

To Go Go Inflight Internet. If anyone is actually paying you $10 for two hours’ worth of Internet access, I suppose more power to you. Personally, I can’t even justify that on an expense account and I don’t fly frequently enough to feel like your monthly membership deal is much of a deal. The videos you created then hid in the cracks of your web site, which I only found because I was looking for a way around your firewall, are silly and condescending. You’ll be the subject of a blog post soon.

To our flight steward. I like 30 Rock as much as the next guy, and I’m glad Matt Damon is a frequent guest star playing a pilot, and I even thought it was funny when he declared “sky law” in an effort to quell any passenger dissent. You understand that it’s a television show, though, right? You also understand that Steven Slater’s beer-fueled rant and exit down the emergency chute, while hilarious, landed him in jail? He ekes out a b-list reality star existence now, try to get Barry Manilow’s agent to win him a book deal. So, my question is, when did flight crews start feeling so good about getting so bitchy? I grant you, the woman next to me was showing far more cleavage than her cleavage’s quality warranted. But you pointing that out was just fucking rude, and meant that she made a huge huffy show of drawing her jacket closed over her chest every time I even glanced toward the aisle. You’re lucky, Queen of the Sky, that you don’t work for tips. And that you have air marshalls to end the fights you start.

To everyone else connected with Delta. Thank you. Clearly, I had my minor issues flying the friendly skies, but you got us on and off the plane with a minimum of hassle. The flight was on time, the captain wasn’t a chattering egomaniac, and everyone but Mr. Imperious was pretty friendly about the whole thing. While I was originally dismayed to hear that we were flying Delta, I’d do it again.

[Editor’s post-script: Lest you think that all Alison or I ever do is complain about travel, enjoy her comments about her return trip from Chicago last week.]

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