Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Wing and a Prayer -- and a Taser Would Have Been Nice

So far, so good. Please be indulgent on spelling & grammar errors -- posting from an internet cafe -- proofing time = $$$!

I made it to the airport hours early, thanks to my extreme paranoia over missed ferries and rush-hour traffic. DH was kind enough to drive me so that I didn't have to deal with public transportation AND paranoia. I'd spent so much time rushing around getting ready, that I only realized when we were nearly to the airport that I hadn't eaten anything all day – I was starving! Of course, that made me wonder what else I'd forgotten – Doh! – earrings. I hadn't planned to bring any fancy jewelry, but I have pierced ears and I meant to bring a pair of earrings. Normally, I would have been wearing them, but nowadays, you can't be sure even something so tiny won't set off the alarm at airport security and get the TSA baboons chattering (and feeling you up), so I pack them now. Except that I didn't.

Still, I was SO early, it wasn't going to be a problem. SeaTac airport has some excellent restaurants in the main terminal and better still, they have a shop there full of things made by local artists. I had plenty of time to get something to eat, and then duck into the artist shop and buy a cute pair of earrings – and better still, I actually had an excuse to buy something in that shop. I normally go in there, look around wistfully, and drag myself away because it's stupid to pay airport prices for anything. However, in this case, airport prices are a bargain when you compare them to what I would pay if I waited till I got to London. Case closed!

So, that was the plan. Check my luggage. Go through security. Get something to eat. Buy some earrings. Oh, and hit the Barnes & Noble for a book or two to read on the plane. I hadn't had chance to get books either. I have some e-books on Lili (EeePC) but the flight is 10 hours and I wasn't sure I would be able to charge Lili on the plane. (I reserved a seat that supposedly had PC power, but you never know).

I checked my one bag with no problem. I went through security with a handbag and a carry-on. My carry-on and I also had no problem. The gibbering idiots who man the TSA station apparently did not like my handbag. They X-rayed it twice and then they upended it into a plastic bin. Fine. It's not like there was any contraband in there. In addition to my wallet, my travelers' cheques, and my passport cover, a couple of stray aspirin and a piece of gum fell out. The fact that they felt they needed to do this isn't an issue – security is security – it's the way that they treat you while they're doing it that's so annoying.

For one thing, they bark orders at your barefooted self.

"Is this your bag ma'am?”

"Step over here, ma'am, you're holding up the rest of the line.”

Well, DUH, I'm holding up the rest of the line. My carry-on bag with my laptop has just gone through and is down at the other end, with my shoes, while you've just dumped the entire contents of my purse into a plastic box 20 feet away. I would like to leave this area with my purse AND my laptop and my shoes, thank you very much, you f***** baboon!

I was finally able to retrieve and reassemble all of my belongings and make my way off to the terminal. The purse dumping incident ruffled my feathers a bit, and I stayed on auto-pilot while I got on the tram to the international terminal. That's when I remembered the international terminal isn't the one with the nifty artist shop, the good restaurants, and the bookstore. The international terminal is really crappy. They have one Burger King, one cocktail lounge, and one coffee shop. They have a newsstand, but no bookstore, and the only other shop in that terminal is the duty free shop. And the doors on the tram slid closed just as I remembered this. Damn!

I had a hamburger at Burger King, although I needn't have – to my surprise, there have been THREE meal services on the flight. I bought three less than arresting novels at the newsstand. And, I found a pair of tolerable earrings at the duty free. It could have been better, but it could have been worse.

The flight itself has been pretty good as well. It isn't full and I lucked into getting a short row of two seats to myself, which meant I was able to put up the arm rest and curl up and sleep for a few hours.

At this point I would like to thank the unnamed physician who answered the call for help with the medical emergency. The repeated requests for assistance made it sound pretty urgent – I wonder if we wouldn't have had to divert to Nova Scotia if you hadn't been here. In any case, I realize you probably won't be compensated, so thank you for interrupting your flight to help.

And on the flip side – no thanks whatsoever to the father who had to be scolded by the flight attendant for allowing your small son to run up and down the aisles of the darkened plane, pressing the flight attendant call buttons and turning on the overhead lights over OTHER PEOPLES' SEATS while you read the Wall Street Journal.

I think most people understand that it's difficult to travel with small children, particularly on such a long flight. They get tired; they get bored. It's tough on them; it's tough on you. Other passengers know this. We don't expect your child to be the model of perfection for 10 hours straight.

We do, however, expect you to pull your head out of your bony ass and tell him to be quiet when he's yelling LA LA LA at the top of his lungs at 3:00 in the morning on a red-eye flight on which EVERY other person is trying to sleep. And we do expect you to attempt to restrain him when he is running – RUNNING – up and down the aisles of the plane, pressing OUR flight attendant call buttons and OUR overhead light buttons!

The flight attendant who asked you to please keep your child in his seat was the soul of restraint. When she pointed out that the seat control panel is not a toy, I wanted to hug her. Your reply, “He is a child. What can I do?” was completely inappropriate. You were lucky you did not say that to me because I would have been happy to tell you what you could do (and I very much doubt that you would have liked it!)

Apparently, the threat of an incident report was sufficient inducement to you to put down the Wall Street Journal. I think you escaped mildly. When I was waiting for the toilet, the woman in the row ahead of me came out – she said she wished she could taser you!

We are over Birmingham now, and starting our descent. Thus endeth part one of my journey.


Anonymous said...

So far, so good. Have a lovely time!

Taminator said...

Ah, you were the soul of restraint! Surely you've earned some good karma for not killing first the father, then the child. Have a great trip!

Tess said...

Oh, my. Good thing my mum wasn't on that flight and seated anywhere near that negligent father. She'd have given him what for in no uncertain terms and probably ended up in trouble herself!

Glad the flight went so smoothly and that you found earrings.

Looking forward to your next installment :)

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

Roger's dad might still have his gin trap in the shed if you want to borrow it for the return journey?
Glad you've arrived in one piece!

Anonymous said...

I think that I am generally pretty tolerant of kids, having had my own and then grandkids.....HOWEVER, there is a limit. Sounds like you had a pretty good flight other than that. Hope you and Nan have a great time and are able to keep us posted.