Tuesday, January 12, 2010

airplane travel

Airplane travel is meant to scare the ever-loving crap out of you. I consider it entirely unacceptable that the probability of my flight beginning in Duluth and ending floating in some random shark-infested body of water is large enough to warrant the placement of a life jacket under my seat.

I know, I know, the probabilities are supremely slim. Yes, I know that per mile traveled you're more likely to get in a car accident or whatever it is they say. I get it. But it's still possible! I don't even like sharks!1

In my defense, I don't have a problem driving, mainly because they don't go to the trouble of reminding you of all of the gory possibilities every time you get in a car:

Should we careen off a roadway and end up floating in the Pacific, we've installed life jackets under your seat. They even have little lightbulbs so that sharks with bad smell-o-vision can find you quicker, as there is no chance on earth that any sort of rescue would come anywhere near you in time for you not to die of hypothermia. Look at the pretty lights! Also, here's some oxygen in case we run out in our trip. We hope you don't wet your pants and faint the minute you see those little yellow cups drop!

That's not even begin to speak of the many other delightful ways in which airplane travel can kill you. There's always mechanical failure, unexpected bad weather, pilot error, pilots getting distracted looking at their laptops error, and, my favorite, vanishing over the Atlantic failure.

How exactly is it that a form of transportation can completely vanish? Is this 1600s sailing or GPS-enabled flying? Does the black box2 not have GPS? Are we still navigating by compasses?

Luckily, most of you don't share my ridiculously-irrational aversion to flying, but the powers that be have also managed to make flying one of the most uncomfortable modes of travel as well. Unless you'd consider a fourteen year old kid sitting next to you elbowing you in the back for over six hours comfortable.3

And they don't just mess you up on the plane. And it's not just the man who's trying to get you down. Let's finish today's instructions with a little bit of a quiz on navigating airports. Answers are linked in the ever-present footnotes.

When entering a long security line full of frustrated people trying to make it to their planes as quickly as possible, when should you remove your large coat or jacket?
  1. Somewhere in line.
  2. At any possible moment in your sad little life which falls prior to arriving at the conveyor belt.
  3. After you've arrived at the conveyor belt, spent two precious minutes loading your five carry-on bags on the belt, and have walked up to the metal detector, then need your own special little reminder that you, like every other single person in the entire nation of the United Kingdom that has been through the ordeal (including at least three dozen people in front of you), have to remove your jacket.
  4. 4

After you have passed through security, when is it advisable to reclothe and situate yourself?
  1. Immediately after the detector, park your three hundred pounds of love in front of the only possible access route to the belt, and proceed to take as much time as possible to wrap yourself in your dozens of smelly layers.
  2. At any moment after that precise minute, which could be, for example, while in the terminal, while in the air, while over Duluth, or any other possible time of your life, up to and including the year 2051.
  3. 5

What are acceptable practices when peeing in an airport bathroom?
  1. Standing right next to the lone individual in the bathroom, ensuring that there are no urinal blockers. Leering over every few seconds.
  2. Missing. Peppering the ground in front so that any observant human is forced to widen their stance as much as possible and remain three feet back out of puke-ridden disgust.
  3. Talking to anyone. Like, say, yourself.
  4. Looking directly at the floor at all times, avoiding any sort of interpersonal interaction, and escaping the very moment you can, all while holding your breath and plugging your nose to evade the floating urinary molecules.
  5. 6

I love flying! I hope you all get to experience it soon! Especially you people who take your sweet time in security!

1. When they're eating me, that is. Like every other sane human, I love them when they're eating anything else. Sharks rock.
2. Speaking of the black box, I just want to take the time here to insult whoever it was who made the joke: "If the black box is indestructible, why don't they make the plane out of it?" Sir. That's not funny. It's stupid. Indestructibility has never been the complaint about flying. Randomly plummeting 36,000 feet is the complaint. If balsa wood were guaranteed to not suddenly crash, you bet I'd be the first person in that rickety old plane.
3. I had to physically restrain myself from slapping him, especially when he stole my leg room. Kid! Go eat some paste or something. I'm trying to sleep through this misery!
4. A: Yes! B: Even better! C: I spit on your memory and wish destruction would rain upon you with the fury of a thousand stinging Brazilian bees.
5. A: I pray you are vexed with nothing but poisoned twinkies and ho-hos. B: Please, marry me! No matter your age, religion, or gender! Even if you clip your toenails on the carpet!7 It doesn't matter! I love you!
6. A: Please, save the rest of us and go directly to jail. Stay there you horrible creep. B: May you only ever receive the blackest coal in your flea-ridden stocking. C: Do everyone a favor and remove your vocal chords. D: You, like me, have some serious issues.
7. I'm lying. That does matter. A lot. Take the time to reclothe where you want, but keep your miserable toenails off the carpet.

3 comments:

Laura said...

Definitely one of your best....you didn't mention anything about the food though, or how people with peanut allergies on your plane means that no one gets a snack...stupid allergies.

Nettie said...

Ha ha ha. I'm crying because I'm trying not to laugh out loud in my cubicle! Do you know how hard it is to laugh hard, but quietly at the same time? I just might get an aneurysm it hurts so bad.

Jess said...

Are you trying to make me never come visit with those horror stories?