Jim is on Vacation in Michigan this week. He is surrounded by vast armies of ridiculously large white tailed deer - seriously, these things are like terminator deer from some apocalyptic deer future with glowing red eyes and metal endo-skeletons and giant bulging Schwarzeneggeresque muscles…
We made it to Michigan alive.
As usual, the flight was hell in a tin can with hell stuffing and brightly colored hell sprinkles on top with little wisps of hell smoke wafting hell like from the top of the steaming heap of hell.
Have I mentioned how much I despise commercial air travel? I haven't? Well, you're in for a treat then, aren't you?
I hate commercial air travel. I hate it with the fiery unbridled passion of a thousand Palin supporters defending yet another bizarre and incomprehensible decision from one of their republican demi-gods.
Crowded airports pushed beyond their maximum carrying capacity, never ending ubiquitous haphazard construction in every terminal, security regulations and processes smothered in incomprehensible bureaucracy and shy on common sense, over-sold and overcrowded flights, piss poor organization, airlines operating on the ragged edge of bankruptcy, old airplanes with overflowing toilets and stress fractures, surly employees afraid for their jobs and not particularly interested in them in the first place – a hundred million moving parts in random Brownian-motion, yeah, nothing to go wrong there. I could go on and on, the stupidity is just plain endless when it comes to the air travel process.
But today I’ll concentrate my ire on my fellow travelers.
Nothing says cud-chewing stupid like the average air traveler.
It starts before you even get on the plane, at security. Nowhere in the ridiculous goat-roping idiot-fest that is modern air travel is the stupidity of the average passenger more apparent than at the TSA security check point. How long have we had to put up with this bullshit? Since the week after 911? Eight goddamned years now? It’s not like it’s a new thing. It’s not like the rules aren’t posted online, on the tickets, on every damned wall and post and pillar and pylon and vertical flat surface in the airport. You’d think people would get a clue.
- Have your ticket and your identification ready. Ready like in your hand. There are four hundred angry and irritated people in line behind you and all of them are in a hurry – and I’m their leader. Have your shit ready. I don’t give a flying fig Newton if you hate the police state, pull your Guy Fawkes passive aggressive bullshit somewhere else. If I have to stand behind one more big haired bitch who who holds up the line while digging through her purse for her driver’s license I’m going to help the TSA goons beat the shit out of her.
- Remove the metal from your person and put it in the tub. Anybody who shows up with 400 metal studs and piercings and buckles and buttons and clips, zips, and pips needs to be beaten with a baton, pepper sprayed, fire-hosed, and then stripped and interrogated with the alien anal probe on a freezing metal table.
- Take your shoes off and put them on the belt. How goddamned hard is this? Pretty fucking hard when you wear combat boots laced to the neck like Harry Houdini wrapped in chains for a dunk in the Tank O Death. Get a clue, you Emo jackass, wear sandals or slip-ons or sneakers or something that you can take off without causing my blood pressure to trip security alarms in three adjoining terminals.
- Take your laptop out, put it in the tub, put the tub on the belt. Put your bag in a tub, put the tub on the belt. Step through the metal detector. Gather your tubs and move the fuck out of the way or I swear to God I’m going to scream and point at you and yell “Oh my God! He’s got a bottle of water and a pair of nail clippers!”
“We would now like to invite our passengers in rows 20-15 to board the aircraft…”
I think all airline passengers should be required to take a basic math test before buying a ticket, because it is patently obvious that the staggering majority cannot count.
- If they’re boarding rows 20-15 and you are in seat 12A, they’re not talking to you, you stupid bastard, sit your ass down and wait your turn.
- And just as bad are the dipshits who don’t go when called. “Yeah, yeah, I know they’re boarding rows 30-34 and I’m in 32, but I think I’ll just wait until they’re boarding row 10 and then stand behind the giant line of passengers and act all impatient and then when I finally do get to my seat I’ll bitch really loud that there’s no room left in the overhead, because chicks dig the the whole self-centered asshole routine…”
- Part of the problem here, of course, is the dumbassery inherent in the announcement, “we would like to invite… .” No. Sorry, but no. We’re talking a gaggle of mouth breathing idiots here, you need to be more specific, “We are now boarding rows 20-15, if you have a seat in rows 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20 get your ass on the fucking plane now – otherwise your ass is staying here. If you approach the boarding gate and you don’t have a ticket with rows 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20 printed on it, the ticket agent will kick you in the nuts and then taze your stupid ass, after which you will be stripped naked, wrapped in duct tape, loaded on a luggage cart, transported to the arrival apron, and unceremoniously dumped in the trunk of a taxi driven by a man with a giant moustache who speaks a language consisting primarily of clicking noises and glottal stops. What happens to you after that is not our problem and your credit card will be billed the full price of your fare plus an additional $14.95 for rental of the luggage cart. The taxi ride is on us. In other words, wait your turn, motherfucker.”
Carry on luggage. Look, I don’t give a shit if you have the assistance of the New York Fire Brigade, a hydraulic jack, and the jaws of life you cannot get a baby grand piano into the overhead luggage compartment – and don’t give me this bullshit about how “it fit on the other plane with no problems at at all.” It didn’t fit, you know it, I know it, the stewardess knows it, and pre-technology stone-aged jungle people from Mindanao Island know it. You’re not fooling anybody.
- There are two hundred people on the plane, all of them are trying to get their shit in the overhead. You. Are. Not. Any. More. Important. Than. Anybody. Else. You don’t get a whole bin to yourself. If your shit don’t fit, then all of us have to wait while they get a luggage handler and tag your bag and put it in the cargo hold where it should have been in the first place. Oh, and I put my bag in the bin and I put my hat and jacket on top of it. It you start shoving shit around and you crush my stuff into the corner – I am going to get up and I am going take you into the lavatory and I am going to introduce you to the blue water head first. You waited until the last minute, you’ve got too much shit, and you’re stupid – this is your problem, don’t make it mine.
- The 60lb backpack is NOT a purse, stop pretending that it is. You’re not fooling anybody.
Airlines need to start charging per pound of carry-on.
Sit down. I can not emphasize this enough. Get on the plane when called. Put your shit in the overhead or under the seat. And sit the fuck down. You’ve just had two hours in the waiting area to get out your book and your iPod and your knitting and your crossword puzzle book and your other bullshit. Now is not the time to go rooting through your carry-on. There are 200 hundred other idiots trying to get to their seats while your fat ass is blocking the aisle as you unzip pockets looking for your headphones. Heh heh, sorry, don’t mind me. Fuck you, I do mind. Get on the plane, sit down.
- And STAY sitting down. What the hell is the deal here? Sit down, buckle up, unbuckle, stand up, root through the overhead, sit down, stand up, back and forth – dude, seriously, they make medication for ADHD, get a prescription.
- Use the goddamned bathroom before getting on the plane. For crying out loud. Two hundred cud-chewers rooting through their shit in the aisle and there is always one dipshit who just has to get all the way to the back of the plane in order to use the lavatory. Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me. I like to stretch and “accidentally” elbow these people in the bladder, oh excuse me, looks like you don’t need to go anymore, uh? Here’s my napkin, happy to help. Now sit down, dickhead.
- “The captain can’t push the plane back until everybody is in their seats. The captain can’t push the plane back until everybody is in their seats. The captain can’t… Who the fuck do you think they’re talking to? You, you stupid ignorant self-centered asshole, you. They’re talking to you. You’re the only one not sitting down. A multi-million dollar aircraft, millions of dollars worth of cargo and passengers, Captain and crew, complex air schedules, taxi plans, gate reservations, dozens of people working on the tarmac, baggage handlers, the guys with the little light wands, the guy who works the jetway, the ticket agents, the people in the tower, the people waiting on the other end - hundreds, maybe thousands, of people all waiting on you to sit the fuck down. But hey, Princess, take your time, the whole world can wait while you get out a stick of gum.
- Cell phones. Unless you’re sending the formula for the cancer cure, hang up and turn your phone off. Now. Or I swear to the Ghost of Alexander Graham Bell I am going to beat you to death with a $5 snack box.
A couple other points:
- Hygiene. You’re going to be packed into an aluminum can with two hundred other people for the next couple hours breathing recycled air, take a fucking shower first. Also, deodorant. Also take a Gasex – in fact, take two. Same goes for a breath mint.
- I’m going to be honest with you, I hate your children. I spend the entire flight secretly hoping they'll get sucked into a jet engine. Yes, I am a horrible person. See, here’s the thing – I’ve got a kid, he’s flown since he was little. We made him behave. We brought stuff for him to do. We kept him up the night before so he would sleep on the plane. If I’m not going to put up with shit from my own kid, what makes you think I’ll put up with it from yours? I don’t want to spend six hours listening to your kid scream, or having him blow snot bubbles over the seat at me, or kick my chair endlessly for duration of the flight. Here’s an idea, cough syrup. If you have kids, buy a bottle of codeine laced goodness and introduce the little hellions to better living through chemistry. One more point on this subject, because I see it a lot – four, five, six little kids riding with mom, dad sitting three rows back with head phones on, oblivious. Listen carefully, fucker, you had ‘em so you either help your wife deal with ‘em or I swear I am going to saw your balls off with the plastic spoon from my snack box. Savvy?
- The drink cart. It’s not a full service bar. “What do you have?” What the fuck do you think they have? They have the same shit they have on every goddamned drink cart on every goddamned airplane in every goddamned airline in the entire goddamned world. Soda, the brown kind and the clear kind and the diet kind. They’ve got juice, grape, apple, orange, and cranberry. They’ve got crappy coffee, and ice water. They’ve got some kind of shitty lite beer for four dollars and some kind of cheap wine, red and white. It is always the same. They’ve got it listed in the in-flight magazine, they announced it on the speaker, the guy in front of you asked the same question, so did the dipshit in front of him.
- Keep your ass out of my face. I don’t care if you die a prolonged and painful death from an embolism and blood clots, I don’t care if the doctor advises you to stretch your legs, I don’t care – keep your ass out of my face. If you have to stretch, go do it somewhere else, but keep your ass out of my face. I have a leaky ink pen, I’m not afraid to use it.
There’s more, oh there is so much more. But now, I have to go enjoy my vacation.
What chaps your ass about your fellow passengers? (we’ll discuss other aspects of commercial air travel at a future date).