Tomorrow morning I head out for a business trip to Dallas, Texas. That’s right…I’m headin’ to the DFW. By the grace of God I actually have a direct flight…no silly connection to contend with…no racing from one gate to another, dodging golf carts, old people and babies only to find out my connection is not only delayed but indeed moved to another gate. Right by the one I was…just…at. (Thank GOD for email notification.)
I’ve not always been a big traveler. Until last year there were only occasional work trips and of course one or two with the gentleman. When I started my current job I was thrilled at the aspect of more travel. Break up the monotony. Experience new parts of the country. While I’m still so thankful to have that dynamic, after a series of trips made in a relatively short period of time last fall…I developed a love-hate relationship with traveling the friendly skies. As I look to tomorrow morning, don’t think I won’t be grinning ear to ear as I toss my children out of the car at school drop-off, peeling out and heading straight for long-term parking at the airport. But I KNOW…as soon as I retrieve my boarding pass and head to security…I’ll be quickly reminded of:
The Ten People With Whom I Hate to Travel:
1. “Expert” Traveler:
Sir, just because you’re sporting a suit does not in fact mean you are an expert traveler. There are indeed TWO lines here in security, the other of which is a little more up your alley. You see, in THIS line, people know ahead of time to take their shoes and jackets off and laptops out. OUT. And no, you DON’T need five trays all to yourself. The laptop bag can go right on the belt. Shoes, jacket…can share a tray. But, hey, don’t worry about the 25 people behind you…please, take your time
2. TSA Agents: Okay…I know these guys are just doing their jobs and at the end of the day I don’t really blame them. They ARE doing their very best every day to keep us safe, and I truly do appreciate it. Having said that. I firmly believe that some of them just wanna see me “nek-ed”. At least that’s what my paranoia tells me. Two years ago I took a trip with the hubs in January to Phoenix. While going through security at IND I was asked to remove my jacket (NO I wasn’t in the expert traveler line) and as I unzipped complete panic set in as I realized all I had on underneath was a significantly revealing cami. Now…some chicks are all comfy walking around in that kind of gear but I just can’t do it. BUT…when TSA says to do it, you do it. It was fifteen minutes of cross-armed glory waiting for my shit to pull through the scanner…but I made it. Fast forward to last fall, on a trip to VA, standing in line at Indy once again…I realized I was wearing a cami but this time it was under a pullover hoody. I was anticipating one of these agents suggesting the sweatshirt was a jacket and would need to be removed. As I approached the scanner on a fairly busy morning, helping my bag and trays along on the belt, the agent in front of me says “I’m going to need you to remove your jacket…” and before he could complete his sentence I snapped back “THIS is not a jacket, it’s a sweatshirt and I don’t have much on under it so I’m NOT taking this off for…”. I was VERY quickly interrupted with a biting “MA’AM, I’m not TALKING to YOU…I’m talking to him!” I sheepishly turned to see an “expert traveler” unknowingly glance down at his jacket as if he didn’t realize he needed to take it off. Sigh. “I’ll just go over here to the full body scanner now, unless you need me in that quaint little room over there with the rubber gloves.”
3. “Refuse-to-check-a-bag Johnson”:
You know who I’m talking about. The people who cram everything for their trip into the largest regulation carry-on bag they can find to avoid having to check a bag. On a lot of my trips, I hit regional airports and am therefore more likely to be on a puddle-jumper which naturally has very little carry-on space. When I fly I carry two things: my laptop bag and my oversized purse (complete with kindle, magazine, migraine meds, phone, wallet, snacks, water, etc). The purse goes under the seat while my laptop goes overhead. UNLESS of course they are out of overhead space by the time my non-preferred ass gets in line. The agents are kind enough to offer checking your carryon at the gate to save space…but does THIS guy roll his bag up to the desk for a tag?? Hell no! He jumps in line rolling his fat-ass-bag right on up to the plane determined to cram it in the compartment like a fat guy in little coat. “This. Will. Fit. I. KNOW. It.” Horse-shit. Meanwhile I’m sweating bullets in line with boarding pass in hand as the agent announces “We apologize but overhead storage is now full, all remaining passengers please check your carry-on at the gate.” I am NOT checking my laptop bag OR my purse. Ass-holes. Thankfully I’ve always been lucky enough to find just enough space to squeeze in my laptop….but I just know one of these jack-bags will ruin it for me someday and I’ll have to go all Katniss on him.
4. Johnny B. Reclining: This guy…is a douche. There is abso-freakin-lutely no need whatsoever to recline your seat when sitting in coach. None. There is no leg room, no room to sprawl…so what’s the point? Does it really lay you back that much to improve your rest mid-air? I think not. And neither do my knee-caps. I don’t want to smell your shampoo or unwashed pillow-head…nor do I want to count your bald-head-freckles or freakishly large dandruff flakes. So don’t mind my 5’11 legs jamming in your back the entire flight…or my instant perpetual cough (complete with disgruntled mumblings under my breath). How ‘bout you just return your seat to an upright position, mmmkay? Good.
5. Mr. Important: Okay…I get it. You’re important…you’re in charge…people NEED to know where you are at all times and you don’t care who else knows it. Well…we on AA flight 3843 know. We’re well aware. I could do without this guy each and every trip. The one who walks into the plane screaming directives into his BlueTooth, causing surrounding passengers to duck and cower. Yeah. He’s the same guy who hits the “on” button of his crack-berry as soon as the landing gear kisses pavement. “Yeah…Larry…I just landed. I need you to get your ass over here and pick me up (as nearby moms cover their toddlers’ ears) we need to talk about the Smith account. Yeah! Now! I need a beer (it’s 10am)…but I gotta hit the head first.” Really?
6. Mr. Pee-body: Unless you have just pulled a “Home Alone” and sprinted to the gate to board just in the nick of time, you had plenty of time to piss before you got on this plane. It never fails that there are several of these weak-bladders when I’m stuck sitting in the last couple of rows. Literally as soon as the seatbelt light dims, he is craning his neck around to see if anyone is in line for the shitter yet. I know what this means…it means you’re not only going to hover over my seat for 20 minutes while waiting to leak your tank but you’re also going to delay the drink cart…and dammit I need a COKE today. (AND some peanuts.) Can’t you take care of this crap in the terminal? I get when there is a 3 hour flight…and needing to go mid-trip…but 15 minutes into? Really? Your poor mom…you were that kid weren’t you? The one who didn’t have to pee when before you left the house…but 5 minutes into an interstate trip you threatened to soak your pants if Mommy didn’t stop somewhere. I got your number.
7. Hungry Hippo: I always have snacks with me when traveling…can’t live on peanuts and coke alone. Water bottle, protein bars and trail mix are a staple. I’ve even been known to pop open a little turkey sammie from the ‘Bucks when grabbing a much-needed coffee for the flight. Innocent eats, really. But God help me if I get stuck next to one more misguided passenger that thinks it’s cool to peel open a foot-long Subway chicken teriyaki with a pound of onions. These things are tough enough to eat at a full-size dinner table, let alone a tiny tray. Did a black olive just fall into my purse?? “I’m sorry, I believe this is YOUR lettuce. No…no worries, I’ll get that mustard-covered pickle that dropped onto my foot. Need a napkin…or…10?” PLEASE save that shit for the terminal or the cab ride…whatevs. I prefer not to exit the plane smelling like Subway Jared.
8. The Octopus: You DO realize we don’t all get two armrests, yes? I’m already contending with Lazy-boy in front of me and onion boy on the other side of me, at least give me a God-blessed arm rest. Please. I don’t require much on a flight but an armrest would be nice. And while you’re at it…could you NOT sit slouched and spread-eagle taking up half of my leg room? Just know…if you DON’T comply, I won’t hesitate to kick the SHIT out of you as I cross and re-cross my legs repeatedly through the flight…giving a good strong elbowing here and there along the way. Ass-bag.
9. Mr. McHurry-Pants: Look. I know we’re all excited that we’ve finally come to a complete stop. And as tempting as it can be to leap over the people in front of you to grab your shit and bolt off the aircraft first…that sort of stunt is slightly frowned upon. Is it really necessary for you all in rows…oh…10 through 27 to leap to your feet as soon as we halt? All you’re doing is blocking those who are actually ahead of you, from getting out of their seats. Are ya goin’ anywhere anytime soon? Hell no…have a seat…thank you very much. I’ve been elbowed in the head more times than I care to count because some guy two rows behind me has ants in his pants and is already up in my shit way up here in row 7. Nothing pisses me off more than being in my window seat, trying to stand crouched over like Quasimodo while Mr. Six Rows Back is shooting me the “good luck getting out” glance. “Oh I’ll GET out. You haven’t seen me stand up all the way yet, buddy. Bring it. “
10. The Bag Molester: I was warned before I started traveling regularly to purchase a piece of luggage of a unique color or pattern to simplify baggage claim. Perfect. While my bag isn’t exactly a sexy leopard print…it’s not the standard color. I know my bag and find it quickly. I’ve seen people use ribbons, bungee cords, colored tape, etc, to identify luggage of a more common color. Great. But to you sir, seeking your black roller-bag? Do you really have to pull every single suitcase off the belt to inspect? Is it necessary to pull my maroon bag as well just in case your black bag magically transformed while en route? No. Next time I see you, I’m handing you some hot pink duct tape to get that shit marked. No, thank YOU…good day, sir.
I feel better now…really I do. Truly this is all tongue in cheek…make no mistake that I have been LITERALLY every person on this list at some point in time. Most of which before I understood what air travel etiquette should look like. Nonetheless, I’m no exception here. I guarantee I’ve pissed somebody off or irritated SOMEone to the point, at the very least, of posting a snarky Facebook status in my honor.
I love it though. All of it. I enjoy traveling. My pissed off inner monologue. My own little life soundtrack which plays with every self-pronounced-expert-traveling step through the terminal. Experiencing new places, new breeds of travelers, varying landscapes.
Most importantly? I don’t have to clean, wipe butts, cook, do dishes, put kids back to bed 10 times a night…so really…what is there to complain about? “Sure buddy…there is PLENTY of room for your legs over here. And by the way can I have a bite of your sandwich?”