Travel ranting

This is the one where I rant/vent about my flight down. I'm blogging this from 30,000' for therapeutic reasons... It wasn't a bad trip down at all, and I'm seriously not complaining about being sent to San Francisco for a couple of days of meetings, but man some people are just ignorant enough to deserve a full-fledged ranting...

OK. I wake up at 3:20am - alarm's set for 4 - and realize with a shudder that it's only 2:20am Pacific time, but I can't sleep the morning I have to fly anywhere. Get ready, sneak into Evan's room to say goodbye while he sleeps, and then head downstairs to catch the cab at 5am. I arrive at the airport at about 5:20. Through checkin in about 5 minutes, then into the lineup for US Customs. It's moving smoothly, and I'm through in about 20 minutes. I head for the lineup for the security check, and notice people starting to shove. They're trying to follow the flight crews through the expedited lines, and they're trying to shove their way through the remaining lines.

One very sweaty nervous little man nudges his way behind me, and quietly asks "do you mind if I ask you when your flight is? mine's at 6:30". I tell him mine is at 7:something, and there's lots of time to get through security, that it won't take any more than 15 minutes (it's 5:55 when he asks). I decide to be an asshole (it happens occasionally). He's got lots of time, and he'll be through with 15-20 minutes to catch his plane if he waits patiently with the rest of us, so there's no real emergency - just his sense of sweaty panic because he's a moron in a suit, who can't tell time or refuses to plan ahead. He decides he doesn't like waiting, so makes a fuss with the agents, and is promptly rushed through the line, ahead of people that got there early enough to wait in line. Other people in line chuckle that he must have a very important meeting to be so nervous about missing it. I'd be a bit more nervous if he was running a company I was involved with - pretty obvious lack of planning skills.

10 minutes later (say, 6:05), and I'm third in line, starting to prepare my stuff to go through the X-Ray screener. A big Texan in coveralls, carrying a big duffel bag, marches through the line, to the staff side of the security checkin counter. I half expect him to open up with a hearty "WaHOO!" and pull out his dual six-shooters, all Looney Toons style. Instead, he blurts out "My flight to Dallas is at 6:30. I can't wait in line. I need to get to my flight now!" The agent calmly replies "Well, sir, it's not up to me. You'll have to ask the people in line [gestures to the ~150 people in the waiting area] - maybe they'll let you move up." Several people in line calmly mention they're on the same flight, but they don't rush to the front because they know there's lots of time left.

Texas turns to the person who's next in line, and asks if he can join him through the security checkin. And then proceeds to remove the rope barricade so he can muscle his way into line. He then turns to us and says "This is my first time doing this - I've never gone through it before" - uh, Texas? how the f#ck did you get here in the first place? You're talking with a Texas drawl, wearing a hat that says "Freer Texas" and are pretty obviously Not From Here, but you somehow managed to get up here with all of your crap without traveling by plane? And didn't bother to pay attention when you're told to show up at the airport 2-3 hours ahead of boarding time to deal with your own country's security protocols? And have no problem muscling your way into line, acting like an ignorant buffoon, and making ~150 people wait while you throw a little tantrum to get your way?

Obviously, rules and lineups are for suckers. Only losers wait in line, and plan ahead.

Finally, I'm through, and find my way to gate 31 - it's hidden in the new area - and relax in the waiting area. Lots of time. They start boarding, asking us repeatedly to board by sections (I'm in section 4, the last to board). When they call my section, I happen to be the second person to come forward. I get through to my seat, and find a woman already sprawled out in the window seat next to mine. Her coat is draped over her, as well as my seat, and she's pretending to sleep. She must be tired. Maybe she got up early this morning. That would be rough. Oh, wait. Every single person on this plane got up early. I initially attempt to find another seat so she can continue her sprawl undisturbed, but decide that I could really use the extra leg room the exit seat provides (not to mention dual seat trays - one in front, and one in the armrest).

We take off after a short delay, and I get to see an absolutely amazing sunrise a few minutes after takeoff, once we rise above the cloud cover. It's overcast the whole way to California, but fluffy cloud-tops are cool, so that's fine with me. There are some pretty spectacular cloud formations off in the distance for most of the flight, with funky shadows being cast all over by the rising sun.

Sprawling Neighbor Lady eventually falls asleep for real, and repeatedly pours her bulk over into my seat. It's fun editing XML files with a 50lb arm pinning your left arm to the armrest. I subtly nudge her a couple of times. No movement. I softly tuck her coat sleeve back over her so it's not flapping on my keyboard. I cough, hoping the slight jarring might send a hint that she's not exactly confining herself within one seat, and she's not alone on the plane. She eventually takes a hint, and if I lean a bit to the right, and fold my left arm thusly, I can sort of simulate having enough elbow room to edit the 1431 xml files for the Mavericks website that I need to FTP back ASAP after landing (it launches officially tomorrow, so they need time to put it on their server). Actually, I get the files edited in record time thanks to the Glorious Wonder of BBEdit. Love it.

I finally give up on getting comfortable, and fire up Team America: World Police in iTunes. Might as well relax a bit :-)

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