15 December 2007

Spot the flaw in logic

Man on airplane: I wonder why the plane is overweight.

Woman: I'll tell you what it is. It's all that carry-on luggage.

Man: Yeah. I don't know why they allow it.

14 December 2007

13 December 2007

O Canadick

Gaining Altitude
Taking off over Santa Monica early morning

What is it with airplanes? Jumping Jehosephat, it's what, a few hours out of your life? Get in, sit down, shut up, hang on. It will be over before you know it.

But NOOOOOOO. Some people turn into weird kinds of monsters when they fly. Their everyday personalities peel away to reveal the stinking garbage heaps of soulessness that lies just beneath.

Like the lady that ran over my foot with her OH THAT IS SO NOT CARRY ON luggage in order to get ahead of me in the line to board the same plane that was going to take us all to the same place at the same time. She didn't say "excuse me," didn't even acknowledge me in any way, just stood there right in front of me in line with her thin shoulders all tensed up like they have obviously been since 1963.

Or Mr. Man in front of me, who sat in a seat that was not assigned to him because it was in an empty row and then began to shriek when a guy sat next to him. The guy next to him, mind you, was in HIS assigned seat.

The plane was already delayed 45 minutes and Mr. Man held it up further, demanding to be able to return to his assigned seat - a seat that was now occupied by a baby.

Mr. Man didn't care if everyone on the plane had to be shuffled around. He said as much. He wanted his assigned seat.

God love the flight attendant, who told him "That will not be happening now. It MAY happen IF we get this plane in the air and IF it all works out."

Then the plane was overweight and Mr Man and I both volunteered to get off (because of the delay, I had already missed my connecting flight and this way I got $200 in travel vouchers and was automatically rerouted - cool!)

Mr Man proceeded to give the people at the gate lip up one side and down the other, telling and retelling his "I didn't get my assigned seat" story as well as bitching about random stuff, like how he had to give them his address to get the travel voucher.

He turned to me, his Canadian passport in hand.

"You should stand in the other line, since this woman obviously doesn't know what she is doing."

Have we not already covered why you should be nice to gate agents?

Normally I try to be a nice person and to let jerkness not get to me, but this time I snapped.

"I thought Canadians were supposed to be nice," I said. "You defy that stereotype."

"I just want to get OUT of here," he whined.

"Well, you were ON an airplane," I said. "No one made you get off, right? You could be gone by now and then you wouldn't be waiting in line."

I think he wished I was gone by now. I stayed in the same line and got wonderful service while 2 gate agents, another passenger and I trashed Mr Man for being the King Hell Psycho dude of the day.

Flying. It is basically just sitting there. Good gosh, get over it already.

Those were some good jellybeans, too

I spent my free evening in Virginia seeing some of the wonderful historical sites and chatting up the locals as I dined at a charming little cafe that served fresh, regional cuisine.


I acted like every other boring business traveler on earth. And now you get to hear about it. Yay, you! Sorry, Maggie Mason.

Free drinks in the atrium? I believe I will! Free greasy snacks? Don't mind if I do!

I actually DID begin to mind after I ate something breaded, fried, and unidentifiable. It was small, round, and very slippery. It might have been an olive or a turkey testicle - I'm not quite sure but it was frighteningly more like the latter than the former.

Then a lovely dinner at TGIFridays, conveniently located across the parking lot. My helpful server, Ed, brought me a glass of pinot noir and a cup of ice, "In case you want to chill it down." That was a new one on me, but maybe that's a local custom. Anyone?

Ed turned out to be an amazing young man. He was a really good server - quick-witted, in the right place at the right time, with a great sense of just how much interaction his customers wanted.

I left him a big tip and then gave him a stern lecture on the way out about how he was meant for Greater Things and how he should Think Big and Get The Hell Out of There as soon as he could. He nodded enthusiastically.

"I'm just working on my bartending skills and want to go to work on a cruise ship," he said. "I figure maybe 2 years."

"Give it 6 months, Ed." I didn't want to get into the evils of the cruise industry right then. Ed is smart. He will figure it out soon enough.

I collapsed in my hotel room with a Project Runway marathon (my excuse is that I have to get my trashy TV fix in hotels since I have no TV at home) and a bag of of Jelly Belly jellybeans that I had purchased at LAX.

When I bought them, the sign said $3.49 a pound. I was overjoyed and amazed, since they are $6.99 a pound at the grocery store, and this place had the full flavor selection.

I am a big Jelly Belly junkie. I spent my time picking a bag of all my favorite flavors - cappucino, sizzling cinnamon, raspberry and none of those gag-worthy buttered popcorn or bubble gum ones.

When I put the bag on the scale, the snotty little LA beeyotch behind the counter said "$14.54." (She didn't say anything else because she was waaaay too good to be friendly to a mere customer. I LOVE LA! LOVE IT!)

"Uhhhhhhhhhhh...I thought they were $3.49 a pound?" I said.

"A QUARTER pound," she corrected. I sensed she went through this at least 1000x a day. No wonder she was a beeyotch. If I had to deal with angry travelers who just found out they had made a custom mix of candy that was going to set them back the price of a large pizza, I would be cranky, too.

So I didn't argue. I ponied up my damned $15 and took my beans. I have to say they are really, really good.

11 December 2007

On the road again

At 3 a.m., I was cheering because MY ALARM WAS GOING OFF! I set it correctly! Woo hoo!

Of course, by then I had been awake for an hour, so the point is moot, but STILL! I am in my 5th decade and I CAN SET AN ALARM hear me roar!

Next up: tying shoelaces correctly.

Flying rule #28: Every airplane must contain at least one fully sick, coughing, snotting, germ-spewing toddler. I'm sorry, that's just the way it is.

Flying rule #14: Every airplane must also contain one old man with really bad gas. He must sit in the row in front of you. This is for your own safety. Apparently terrorists are deathly afraid of the farting elderly. Again, my apologies, but this is according to the Transportation Security Administration rule 530.11.

True Travel Confession #1: I forgot to take my makeup out of my backpack and put it in a tray in its plastic bag, even though it contained liquids and gels.

True Travel Confession #2: It was a GALLON sized ziplock, not a quart. If I disappear tomorrow, please tell my mom what happened to me.

All in all, a relatively nice day of travel. Except for the part where I almost missed my connection because the airport restaurant was busy screwing up my order (I can assure you ma'am, that I would NEVER order the black bean soup on a trip that involves an evening business meeting with my bosses. Nevah!)

They had to call my name and stuff. It is pretty surreal for me, Miss Pathologically Early, to hear my name called over the loudspeakers by an annoyed gate agent.

I have heard those announcements SO OFTEN and thought "What losers those people are!"

Hey, guess what? I'm a loser, too!

I caught a ride from a guy with an electric cart. Thank you, Mr. Man, whoever you are.

They had the doors locked and the gate agent had taken off, but after I stood at the door, shaking it on its hinges and sobbing, "Pleeeeeaaaaase, oh, pleeeeease, can't someone HELP me??? Oh cruel fate!" a nice guy unlocked the door and let me, sweating and redfaced in.

I had to make the Walk of Shame down the skinny little airplane aisle. I knew what all those other passengers were thinking.

I am NOT a loser.

10 December 2007

Be glad you don't live in my head

I believe I have mentioned this before, but I cannot set an alarm clock to save my life. The whole process just baffles me.

You'd think, at my advanced age, that I would have mastered this by now. What on God's green earth is my problem?

I don't need an alarm clock. I never use one. I am an annoyingly light sleeper. Though I appear to be asleep, I am actually in a sort of daze with my eyes closed. Anything from a breeze to a car alarm going off 6 blocks away can awaken me.

(I think I scared my doc when I started talking about the last time I got a good night's sleep: "Oh, I remember it so well - March, 2003, Tempe Arizona for spring training...we were staying at the Sheraton and I slept like a rock.")

I can also awaken myself at any time that I decide the night before. If I say "Wake up at 5:15," I will be awake between 5:12 and 5:17. This has failed about 4 times in 46 years, usually when I am sick as a dog.

Snooze alarm? Screw you. That is a tool of the devil. Once the fucker goes off once, I AM AWAKE and there is no way I am "snoozing."

What is my problem, then? I still get paranoid on nights like tonight, where I have to get up at 3 a.m. to catch a plane.

Despite everything I know about myself, I will nervously awaken every 15 minutes or so to make sure I didn't oversleep. I would love to be able to set an alarm and count on it to wake me up at 3.

But I can't. Because I can't be sure I have set the alarm right. Because I don't need to except maybe once every 3 years.

I hate being me sometimes.

09 December 2007

Learning to Fight

About 15 years ago I took a class in self-defense where I learned to fight like this:
Getting mugged by 2 big guys

It was called "Model Mugging" (yeah, stupid name) but it also goes by Impact Personal Safety, Prepare and other names.

It taught me to fight after getting knocked down, grabbed from the rear, when waking up with someone on top of you...it taught me to fight dirty and to fight from the very center of my being.

It was the best thing I ever did. I would trade my college degrees for those 100 hours of training on the mat. I became a different person because of it.

One of my friends described it thusly: After Model Mugging, everything else seems easy. I hear people say "I'm afraid to fly," or "I'm afraid to drive in strange cities," and I think "Well, if I faced down 3 attackers at once, I can do THAT easy."

But the fighting wasn't the most important thing I learned in class. There were a dozen of us and we all told our stories of why we were there on the first night. Out of 12 women, seven were rape survivors. Two with multiple assailants. Three who had had abusive husbands or boyfriends. Four who had survived molestation. And one woman, who I took an instant dislike to because of her cold, standoffish attitude.

I learned about strength and courage from these women. Because even though they had been terrorized and abused, they were going on with their lives. They had husbands, kids, were in positions of power at work.

They hid the pain most of the time. But when they opened themselves up, the pain just poured out. It was harsh, raw, unshielded. It took my breath away that they could even survive, much less thrive.

They taught me that you never know why someone is acting like a jerk. They might just be a jerk, or they might be skating on the thin ice that covers a lake of hurt, a lake that is boiling and ready to blow.

The woman who was cold wasn't just an ass. She had been and was being stalked by an ex-boyfriend for over 4 years. He made her life a living hell and she was so terrorized that she was afraid to show any emotion. She was also sleep-deprived to the point of insanity.

She got her life back through the class and her stalker, seeing she had taken back her power, moved on just like that.

I got a piece of my heart back through the class because I gained compassion that I could not have found any other way.

And I also pack a mean round kick.
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