Before we begin: here’s something left over from Yesterday’s rant:
ORLANDO — Snowbirds come to the Sunshine State to escape them, but weather officials said a few snowflakes were spotted in Central Florida.
The flakes, mixed with rain, fell about 9 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Snow shovels were not needed, but some of the white stuff did hit the ground before melting, National Weather Service meteorologist John Pendergrast said. — South Florida Sun Sentinel
I don’t feel bad for the snowbirds (I never do–who does?). I feel bad for me. That’s right, me, Al Franken.
* * *
This is a bad weekend to travel, precisely because so many people do. They pile on airplanes, crowd the highways, even pack the passenger trains in an attempt to get someplace else where others already are or are traveling to. It’s part of the insanity of modern American life. Interestingly, turkeys are involved.
Yesterday I called my buddy Cliff Kattle at US Air Passenger Services. He’s a department of one: US Air, like many domestic airlines, essentially eliminated passenger services several years ago, deeming it an unnecessary luxury.
“Yeah, it’s brutal,” he laughed. “I spend a lot of time on the phone telling people we’re sorry. We’re not, of course, but that’s about all we’re capable of doing.”
That’s been my theory for years. Is there anything people can do to make it easier on themselves?
“Yeah! Keep out of the airports! Stay the hell home!”
What’s your next tip?
“Well, if you’re gonna fly somewhere, don’t take any carry-on luggage. That slows everything down, makes the lines longer at check-in, delays boarding and de-boarding and waterboarding and all that.”
Makes sense. What else?
“Don’t take any luggage for storage, either. All that shit has to be x-rayed and loaded on and off the plane, which takes time. And all that weight slows the airplane down.”
But wait. No carry-on and no stored luggage? People need to take belongings with them! Some are staying away from home for days!
“Not my problem! Did you ask me what would ease the trip? I’m telling you. Buy new shit when you get there, and leave it behind when you come back. It’ll make things easier, trust me. Also, leave the goddam kids behind. They take forever and they annoy the hell out of the other passengers. Makes the ride feel longer.”
And no pets, of course.
“Goes without saying. And fer chrissake, no old people. They bitch and moan, they’re slow and clumsy, they clog up the bathrooms, and they stink.”
Buzz, how’d you get into Passenger Services, anyway?
“Subpoena. Let’s see, what else? Oh, yeah. Get to the airport a day or two early. Shit happens, and you wanna be able to react to it. Don’t drive yourself and try to park, get somebody to drop you off a mile or two outside the airport perimeter. Traffic gets bottled up easily. Wear as little as possible to make security go faster. In fact, fly naked. And…”
Okay, Buzz. That’ll do. I get it. Next thing you’ll tell me not to set foot outside my living room for five days.
“NEXT thing? That was the FIRST thing! Don’t you fuckin’ listen?”
We hang up simultaneously. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.