Tuesday, March 23, 2010
the joys of flying
It must be something about traveling alone that makes me want to slap everyone I encounter. Because I love flying and I love airports I always wondered then what makes me so irritable that grind my teeth until my jaw is sore. I realized it's because 98% of the time I'm traveling by myself. No one to talk to, no one calm me down and tell me not everyone around me is as intelligent as I am.
I made good time getting to JFK, lugging my suitcase 6 (long) blocks to the subway, to the airtrain, and then through the terminal. I couldn't pack my bag down to a carry-on because my snow gear was so big so I had to check my bag. I actually wish I packed more clothes and shoes since I had to check my bag anyway. I was only the 10th person on line at the baggage check line but the line did not move at all. I wanted to pick up a magazine and a snack and relax by my gate and this group of 4 at the check-in counter was doing everything they could to make sure I could not follow through with my plans. I was tapping my feet and inching up closer to the person in front of me (9 people away from the group) to make sure the group knew I was annoyed. How hard is it to check in? You hand them your I.D. and boarding pass that you get from the computer check-in, they take your I.D., type something into the computer, take your bag, and hand you back your info and a baggage claim sticker attached to your boarding pass. A one minute transaction max. What could possibly make you stand at the counter for 20 minutes?
I finally got to security and had the option between 6 lines. I chuckled to myself, hearing George Clooney's voice (ala Up In The Air) as I was trying to decide which line would be the fastest. Senior Citizens: No. Single mother with 3 kids, car seat, and stroller: No. I did not see any efficient Asians and lined up behind a white guy in a suit, a close second. Of course, I forgot not to wear studded apparel and had to remove everything except for my pants and my shirt.
After security, I got to the gate just when they were pre-boarding which leads to my next mind-boggling travel behavior. I waited until they called my row and I tried to get in line except there was no line. Just a herd of people standing in front of the ticket lady. How do people not understand the concept of a line? I decided to just pick the closest thing resembling a line, 3 people inching slowly, one behind the other. But then the line doesn't move and I realize these people aren't on line at all. They are waiting as close as possible to the line so that when their gate is called they can pretend they were already on line and keep moving forward. W.T.F?? This action drives me bonkers!! I feel like people who do this have some serious personality defects. (Care Bears told me she does this on her business trips to ensure her carry-on luggage has room in the overhead compartment so that she doesn't have to check her bag. I guess, in this case, gate crowding is OK. All others: Seriously defected).
My friend Ann says she gets a little scared when she flies alone. Sometimes I think about the possibility of a disaster but I tell her I'm usually too busy wanting to kill everyone on the plane to worry about my own death which I guess is kinda a good thing because the scary thoughts of crashing never enter my mind. In all my years of traveling, over a hundred flights taken, I have never, not once, been seated next to a hot guy who has serendipity, future husband potential. Overweight man who seeps in my seat? Yes. Coughing, sneezing, pooping, crying child? Yes. Cheap drugstore perfume lady? Yes. Never the hot guy.
I am always amazed by the characters on a plane. The ones who go into a panic because their bag that clearly isn't a carry-on doesn't fit and they continue to push it causing other people's bags to fall on my head. Or the ones who stroll on late and then get agitated when the plane isn't taking off the instant they put their seat belts on. Or the ones who think the seat belt sign is merely a suggestion. The ones that thing the flight attendant would say, "Oh you just really need your Ipod (that you can't even turn on during takeoff) right this second? OK then. The seat belt sign doesn't apply to that."
I was seated next to an awkward 20 something guy who was passing a chess board back and forth with his friend who was seated directly behind him. I had an aisle seat, my preference because I don't feel so cornered in. A graying, middle aged lady had the window seat. Her disshevelled-ness got on my nerves, even with one person in between us. Her so called purse was too large to fit under the seat in front of her but she continued to kick it until it probably poked out between the legs of the person in front of her. I nodded off and woke up to see her sitting in the seat crouching tiger style, staring at me. I decided to ignore her strange behavior and force my eyes shut. Next thing I know I felt this gust of wind whoosh across my face. Apparently the lady needed to pee and was waiting for me and awkward chess player to wake up so that she could get out of her seat. I have never seen anyone, let alone a middle aged lady, leap across 2 passengers into the aisle before. What is wrong with people?
Of course, it wouldn't feel like a normal flight if I a child hasn't assaulted me with their germs. I knew not having a child within a 5 seat radius of me was too good to be true when a mother bringing her child back from the bathroom stopped next to me. The lady across the aisle wanted to tell the mother how cute her child was, show her pictures of her nephews, talk about how lonely she is, and how her brother died last year. She definitely wasn't a New Yorker. While the lady accosted the mother with her TMI's the child pulled on her mother's arm. Even the child was smart enough to want to get out of that damn conversation. Then the child sneezed on me. Compared to the crouching tiger lady I thought, at least, this was expected.