Every few months, I get the urge to head somewhere I’ve never been. Whether it be the coast, a beach, or smack dab in the middle of Texas, the state I hate the most, I’m there. But like any great thing (even the iPhone has a few glitches, right?), traveling has its setbacks.
First up being my unwillingness to spend money. Ever since living the Ramen life in college, I’ve lived like I didn’t have the cash, and now that I (sometimes) do, I want to hold onto it for a rainy day … or an unexpected suing. However, liking to travel and sitting at home Scrooging my pennies are two separate events, ones that can’t survive at the same time. Instead, I make compromises by way of the availabilities the United Statesian government has provided us. Meaning I take work vacations so each expense will count as a tax write off. Also, some sight seeing is done along the way.
Another thing I do, even when using work as an excuse, is buy the absolute cheapest flights possible. Thanks to the miracle of Google and airlines wanting to fill their flights to the brim, a good deal can almost always be found. Leaving at 4:30 am? No problem; I’m saving over $200. A 40-minute train ride, post flights? Sure, sounds like fun. And did I mention I live more than two hours away from any major airport? I’m sure whichever driver had to hand deliver my luggage two years ago was even more upset about it than I am.
But alas, the dark parts of travel, the ones I’m about to complain about in detail, exist no matter how much pays for one’s flight. Even first class passengers get bumped by the drink cart.
My List of Air Travel Grievances
- airport carts, which are empty 90 percent of the time, beep in high pitched and obnoxious interval. Usually a driver is also reminding you to get out of their way.
- Chicago O’Hare doesn’t have free Wifi, or a decent 3G connection.* You want to charge me to sit around and wait for my next flight, and make me pay for Internet? In the words of most angry children, hell to the nope.
- airplane ceilings that squeak constantly, as though they were made purely of styrofoam. How is there so much structure movement anyway? That doesn’t seem safe.
- passengers who stand up the second the seatbelt light goes off (did you really have your seatbelt on that whole time?). Then then stand hovering into my personal space, and as if they’re about to race me for the overhead compartment.
- people who just keep smiling. What’s funny? It’s 6 a.m. and your texts can’t be that entertaining. Also, the more you smile, the more I have to stare at you; the ball’s in your court.
- urgent phone calls. There’s something about the airport that causes people to call every single person they know. Who are these contacts and why do they have time to talk during work hours? I bet their job description isn’t discussing your interest in Pillow Pets.
- no smoking signs – I get it, government. Cigarettes aren’t allowed on board. I don’t smoke, and wouldn’t take up the hobby even if I was offered free flights for life. But, even for those who do smoke, they get it. They can’t light up on the plane. There’s no need to threaten with federal laws or constantly flashing signs. Just because they’re stupid enough to voluntarily suck carcinogens doesn’t mean they’re willing to get arrested.
- cutters – I was in line here. No amount of texting or pretending to help your small child changes the fact that you’re wasting my time.
- other people – they seem to lose all sense of logic when it comes to flying. “What?” they ask themselves, “We can soar though the air as if we were high powered birds? Nothing else must make sense either.” It’s an event that alters their personalities into those ridiculous idiots (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt, that away from airports they are otherwise respectable humans). These idiot versions, however, buy $8 drinks, and ask frantically what the time is, even though it was announced repeatedly, and really, every U.S. citizen should understand the concept of time zones. These people also require simple steps be pointed out, like how announcements mean what they say, not the opposite. And that seat numbers are easily referenced by a number and corresponding letter. “What do you mean I’m in your seat? I don’t care what your ticket says, I’m sitting here now.”
In fact, on my last traveling encounter, I’m not even which part to cite as the worst. Was it waiting in a security line for 90 minutes while summoned passengers were allowed to cut – an act normally considered taboo – whilst I had to explain their next steps. (An hour and a half provides you with power and information that further backs aren’t privy to.) Or maybe it was the giant lobby puddle, or even larger Tarmac pond. But in all likelihood, it was watching two male TSA agents rifle through my underwear to seize a souvenir jar of peanut butter.
Once a rookie in plane security confiscations, I’m now a seasoned rule violator – one who is well aware of the reprimanding process. First an agent, in a ridiculous accent, will ask, “Whose bag is this?” – even if 1) you are the only person standing near, and are waving your arm and staring 2) you just had a conversation with the same agent about your friend’s identical illegal item. Next they’ll carry your bag to a table where you must watch an agent take out the offending item – after they removed it on the belt, showed it to you, and replaced it. (This happens even when your underwear is in the way.) Finally, when you begin to re-zip your bag, they explain that it must be rescanned.
Between the constant beeps, unintentional eavesdropping, unorganized behavior, and the idea of an environment where peanut butter is dangerous,** it’s almost enough to wonder why I keep doing it. Almost.
But for now, traveling, let’s give it a year or so. You’re still on my list.
* When you live in the boonies, 4G is just that thing they talk about on TV
**Jarred and unopened; allergies don’t count.