Monday, March 2, 2009

Mad as Hell

No, I'm not mad. It seems like everyone around me was mad today, so I just thought I'd write about people getting upset and loud for stupid reasons.

See, it was a YIFY travel day. San Francisco to Indianapolis by way of Charlotte. That might not make much sense to anyone with a grasp of US Geography, but there is a method to my madness. The second half of Kate's Valentine's Day gift was that she wouldn't have to drive back from her winter home in Indianapolis with all of her worldly possessions (I'd do it for her). So we flew from San Francisco to Charlotte, then she got off the plane in Charlotte and I continued on to Indy to pack up her independent senior apartment and haul her stuff across the country. I think that Kate secretly likes this half of her gift better than Napa.

Editor's Note - I'm guessing the front desk at the Senior Center will be getting some calls later tonight when a large man starts packing up one of the senior apartments at about 11:00 PM. Oh, the ladies are going to have a field day with this one at bingo tomorrow night. Maybe they'll think that the nice lady in the apartment got evicted or something. I'm gonna miss this place.

So today had all the makings of a travel day that would make people freak out. A nice winter snowstorm all along the East Coast, including places like Charlotte where people don't know how to deal with bad weather. Tons of flight delays and cancellations. Here are a few of my favorite airport freakouts.

1. Guy who just bought a $5 coffee before going through the security line. I really enjoy watching people who stop at the Starbucks right outside of the terminal area and then proceed to the security line without even taking a sip. Apparently they haven't flown for the last eight years and don't realize that you can't bring any liquids through security. I intentionally get behind these people in line because it's a cheap form of entertainment that goes something like this:

TSA Agent: Sir, you're going to have to get rid of that before you come through security
Idiot [looking shocked]: What? What do you mean?
TSA Agent: Sir, you're not allowed to bring beverages through the security checkpoint
Idiot [looking disgusted]: But. I just bought it.
TSA Agent: I'm sorry sir
Idiot [under his breath]: Why do they put a Starbucks there if I can't take it with me?

2. Guy behind me [behind idiot] in security line. Since I always try to get behind this guy in the security line, I know that I'm in for an extra two minute wait before my x-ray/security striptease. Both because of the coffee discussion that I know is coming, as well as the fact that the guy who didn't get the memo about no liquids probably also doesn't know to take off his shoes, belt, and laptop before going through security. And if he does know this, then he probably left his boarding pass in one of the articles of clothing that he just removed, so he'll have to go through the metal detector twice. Now this doesn't really bother me. I mean, I basically got behind him just for the entertainment value, so I knew it was coming. But this does always piss someone off...usually the guy behind me. Guy behind me just can't believe that anyone wouldn't know the current rules and regulations. He sees me as a confidant, since I've got the security striptease down to a science, so he usually shares his frustrations with me:

Guy Behind Me [annoyed]: Ugh, can you believe this?
Me [playing along]: What's that?
Guy: This idiot in front of you...has he ever flown before
Me [still playing along]: Why is that?
Guy: Well he didn't know you had to [insert TSA requirement here] before going through security
Me [lying]: That's my uncle
Guy: Oh, well. Sorry. 

3. Family whose flight has been delayed. Now I'll admit that flight delays can be annoying. But I can guarantee that there is not a single person at the airport who can do anything about your flight delay, so it really doesn't do any good to get cranky at the lady at the desk. Missing connections does indeed suck, but it happens. Also, if your 5:00 PM flight from Charlotte to Indy gets delayed until 6:30, what do you have to get upset about? If you're flying to Indy, you clearly don't have a connection. Nobody is juy flying through Indy. So you're going to get there at 8:00 instead of 6:30. I'm sorry that you missed Jeopardy, but you'll still be home in time for The Bachelor. As long as you don't have to spend the night in an airport, just calm down. Or let me know if you're going to freak out, because I'd like to watch. After the misguided freakout to the lady at the gate, I usually like to go up and say something nice to her. Just because it must really suck to have people complain about something you have no control over and not be able to provide anything close to a satisfactory answer. Either that, or I tell the freaking out family some made up story that makes them embarrassed about their tirade. Usually something like:

"Yeah, I know what you mean, I was supposed to be on the flight at 6:00 AM, and I've been here for the last 12 hours."


"Well, now I've already missed my connecting flight. I was supposed to go to Moscow tonight, and now I'll be stuck in the states for an extra two days."

The latter only works if it's the type of person who doesn't realize that you can't fly from Indianapolis to Moscow, so it works about 75% of the time.

Honorable Mention Travel Freakouts:
A. Person who gets upset when the flight lands but has to wait on the tarmac for 5 minutes while the previous flight clears the gate.
B. Person who boards flight late (usually with McDonald's bag in tow) only to find that there isn't room for their massive carry-on right above their seat
C. Person who tries to use the bathroom during takeoff only to get sent back to their seat by the flight attendant

I really enjoy C. There are few things more demeaning than being told that you have to hold it. Makes you feel like you're back in Kindergarten. 

So there you have it. Most of you who know me probably know that I don't really freakout very often. I usually just turn into a bigger smartass than I already am. Or, if I feel that I have been slighted and need some form of retribution, I usually just tell the service person that because of reason X, I don't think I'm going to pay for Y. You'd be amazed how often that works. If you're at a hotel and you don't have hot water in your shower, when you check out, just say that you just don't think you're going to pay the 'resort fee' on account of there not being hot water. Or if a waitress screws up your order, just say that a beer on the house will help you forget the mix-up. Most hospitality type workers are just trying to avoid conflict, so giving them an easy out usually works. Sure, you could demand to speak to a manager or something like that, but then you're talking to someone who only hears people complain all day. So I just like to suggest that I won't pay for something to the front line employee and then go on my way. They get the feeling of successfully avoiding conflict and you get the feeling that you won the argument without having to argue.

Alright, time to pack up the senior apartment and go to bed. Cohabitation begins again tomorrow, which should provide plenty of BlogFodder.


Al Iverson said...

It's true. That is indeed my uncle.

Anonymous said...

haha...i like the "uncle" one. sounds like something i'd do. :)

Kath said...

You are making me mad just reading about those people!!

I can't STAND it when people dont' "prepare" themselves for security. Take your coat off. Undo your shoe laces. Get ready to move - FAST!

And I hate it when people get made at the TSA people. Like they really thought they would be an exception!

You win husband of the year for getting Kate's stuff for her.

Welcome home Kate!!

Tina O. said...

You should have mentioned the person that uses you as their personal foot rest as they fly home on the red-eye from the hell-trip Vegas. Oh wait, that person was me. I know, I suck, but I slept pretty well. I don't ever plan to fly again if it can be helped!

Amy said...

hahhaa I just flew to LA and pretty much ALL those things happened to people around me. It's incredible.

RhodeyGirl/Sabrina said...

C1. Person who tries to use the bathroom during takeoff only to get sent back to their seat by the flight attendant, WHO THEN ANNOUNCES TO THE CABIN THAT TE FASTEN SEAT BELT SIGN IS ON.

that is my favorite, for sure.