Monday, April 8, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Hate Air Travel

  As the Indian man seated to my immediate left slipped his black rubber shoe off, and then his black worn sock, I stared in wonder at the rough uneven yellowed toenail that jutted out bravely from his brown flaky toes.  This man was getting comfortable.  A slight scraping sound could be heard as his uneven nail slid across the pocket of the seat in front of him.  He fingers beat out a strange raga rhythm on his palm and his mouth made strange sucking sounds on the off beats. At first I thought he might be nervous about flying.  Then I concluded he was just an asshole.  Seated in coach, I was trapped next to this man for the next 90+ minutes.  I had nowhere to go.  I would remain 4 inches away from a man that would appear to be more at home squatted on top of a train steaming into Bangladesh.

Air travel has definitely changed.  At one time air travel was something reserved for the very wealthy.  Most people had never been on an airplane and assumed they never would, unless of course they were “in the service”.  “Well, I went to Hawaii once.  It sure was nice.”  Oh?  Where did you stay?  “I was in the service.  I was there for a month.  All they let me do was scrape barnacles off of the bottom of boats at night, and then during the day they made us sleep in a windowless airplane hangar.  We got leave for an hour once though.  I saw the ocean for 7 minutes.  It was nice”.

  While I am happy conceptually that the general population can have the ease of rapid air travel at their fingertips, I find myself less happy when I am stuck next to someone who’s idea of personal space radically departs from my own.  People now insist on “being comfortable” when they fly, which has resulted in airplanes filled with people in pajama pants, barefoot, and under the general impression that any conduct that is permissible in their squalid apartments is fine on the airplane with me four inches away.  After you spend a few hours in an airport, you realize that most people are horrible creatures that are only just a click above most barnyard animals on the evolutionary scale.  If not for the opposable thumbs, I think most people would be on the outside looking in with the hierarchy of species.  I can honestly say I would rather travel with most goats I have encountered than that Indian guy.  Please note that this is not an endorsement of goats, but an indictment of that Indian guy.  I just wanted to make that clear.

  Let me also mention that the safety speech before each flight is ridiculous.  If the plane crashes, it’s all going to turn out bad. On the off chance that some sort of emergency landing was successful, the chance of getting out of the plane before being engulfed in flames is almost none.  If it takes 30 minutes to get people seated in assigned seats in absolutely perfect conditions, what are the odds you could get out of a plane in chaos? That same old woman that spent an eternity finding seat 17A and then getting her bag in the overhead has no chance to effectively move from point A to point B in an emergency.  Let’s just stop pretending that we are all going to follow some sort of procedure when the worst becomes reality.  You will die a horrible death, and the last thing you will see is that woman fucking around with her carry-on bag and trying to get her jacket on instead of leaping out of the emergency exit.

  So now I am descending into the brown and gray April landscape of Ohio.  The Indian man has increased the tempo of the raga.  His scraggily yellow toenail is two inches away from my knee.  Maybe I need to get into the Zen of the “music” and stop focusing on the negative.  Maybe I can get into some kind of trance where I will find my spirit guide. The sprit guide can tell me all the important things like how to achieve total bliss, if the “Moveable Feast” really was a great time, why cold water boils faster than warm water, and who will win the American League East.  That would be great.  I wonder if my spirit guide will be a goat?


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