I was reflecting earlier about things that I've learned from traveling. And the flight is just as important as anything else to the happiness of your trip. The big deal about the flight is that it's going to be the most uncomfortable part of the vacation. Please excuse my voice, as I choose to switch back and forth between first and second person. You understand, I'm sure.
First you have to make your way to the airport. This time, I rode BART. How much more exciting can a vacation be to start with an hour and 20 minute BART ride with the Bay Area's finest citizens? Luckily, BART now goes directly to the airport, making things more comfortable.
Second, you get to check in. This time I was smart and checked in online. That meant that I didn't get the thrill of standing in line for 20 minutes. Once you reach the front, you get to hand your ID to the ticket taker. That person will then spend the next 20 minutes staring at the screen and occasionally typing. They then get to ask you the questions about whether you had your bags with you the whole time, but they don't look at you when they ask said questions. Nor do I think they notice when you answer. Since I don't check in luggage, they then stare at my bag for about 30 seconds, wondering whether to make me check it in or not. Finally, they push one more button and my ticket pops out.
Third, on to security. This is that place in the US where we bend over and ask them to shove the Bill of Rights right up our asses. But of course or safety must be MUCH more important than liberty. I mean that person in front of me could have done some serious damage with that hair gel. I might have gotten my hair gelled. And the Ziploc bag of Nutter Butter bites in my pocket certainly warranted me getting pulled to the side for a full search. I'm guessing that someone was worried about travelers with peanut allergies.
Fourth, you get to go to the gate. And sit there. For an hour and a half, because you were smart and showed up extra early "just in case." For me, this hour and a half is filled with wondering, once again, if they are going to make me check in my bag. Yes, it's the correct size for a carry on, but these guys like to make you check them just for fun. On the way to DC this past spring, the guy at the gate walked by me and gave that 30 second stare to my bag as I had it on my back. I think they are trained in that stare, their minds filled with geometric computations and visions of me pissed when they make me check it. He then said," I don't know if that bag will make it. We might have to check it." I coolly responded, "It's fine. It will fit." He stared again, and mumbled as he walked away, "We might have to check it." I didn't see him again. Jedi mind trick, bitches.
Fifth, your anxiety for the trip builds up again, because you're getting on the plane! You jump to the line when they finally call your "zone," only to find the line extends out of the plane and into the walkway leading back to the gate. Why? Because they load the plane from the front. And people take five minutes to adjust themselves in the aisle. Finally you get to your seat, where you then sit for another half hour. And these seats are the comfort equivalent to the desks in my classroom, which is strange because they look quite plush. It's a miracle of design. After slowly taxi-ing (?) around the airport, you finally get to take off. That adrenaline builds because you're finally on your way! The plane lifts off and... you feel like you're in the exact same place. That plane is moving, but the uncomfortable seat is only going to get worse and worse over the next several hours. All the adrenaline form the excitement leaks out of your body.
Finally, we're ready for the decent. The plane is coming to the ground! Another half hour later, it finally lands. After another 20 minutes of taxi-ing (??), we're to the gate. And everyone stands up. And remains standing for another 15 minutes. I'm an experienced traveler. I stay in my seat. Suckers. And then you're off the plane! Here you are in… your connecting city. Let's do most of it all over again.
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Are you so freakin zen during the summer that nothing annoys you?
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