Monday, December 22, 2008

Travel Travails

After getting up at 3:30 to get to the airport at 6:00 for a flight that left at 7:00, The Common Man did not have the energy to blog yesterday. He hopes you all understand and can forgive him for not being quite as dedicated as Mike Wilson, who live-blogged his own plane crash using Twitter (The Common Man's favorite line: "You have your wits scared out of you, drag your butt out of a flaming ball of wreckage and you can't even get a vodka-tonic.")

And frankly, the day didn't lend itself to putting The Common Man in the best blogging mood anyway. There was the lack of sleep the night before, which weighed heavily on his overall mood. Then, on the first flight, The Boy was acting more rambunctious than usual. Eventually, he peed through his diaper and into The Common Man's lap, meaning that your friendly, neighborhood The Common Man was soaked in urine for the rest of the day. At the second airport of the trip, things went from bad to worse. The plane was delayed for an hour because one of the flight attendants wasn't there yet (she was coming in on another flight, which was itself running late), and FAA regulations state that there must be 6 men and women on board to serve The Common Man drinks and sell him a $4 bag of mini-oreos, not 5.


Then, as the crowd grew ever more impatient and the moment of boarding came ever closer, the gate agent began playing a fun game. "When we begin boarding the plane," she said, "we will begin with passengers traveling in first class, then elite members, then we will be boarding from the back of the plane." Like any impatient mob, the fliers began pushing forward, sure that the boarding process was about to begin. "Thank you for being patient, ladies and gentlemen. What I said was, 'when we begin boarding the plane...'. We are not ready to board yet, and will not be for another 15 minutes. Please step back from the gate area."

Oh, Siren, you had tricked The Common Man and his fellow travelers, luring them in with your sweet promises of boarding and safe passage, only to rebuff them at the last moment and take from them their hope (The Common Man just finished listening to an audiobook of The Odyssey.), but he will not be fooled again. Twenty minutes later, the temptress and gatekeeper returned to the PA system and announced that first class passengers could begin boarding, rows 1-3. After giving them sufficient time to take their golden chariots and slave-driven litters down the gateway, she announced, "Thank you for your patience, ladies and gentlemen, we will now be boarding all rows (long, heavy pause, in which the crowd surges forward once more like a tsunami upon the beach) in first class, rows 1-6." And the crowd receded from her, angry and resentful, muttering and threatening to surge forward again like so many waves upon the shore. Oh, how she had tricked The Common Man again, for he did not know that first class was 6 rows deep!

After dispatching the opulant first class passengers, she called forth the elite fliers and allowed them to board. Then she began the process of boarding the rest of the embittered crowd from the back of the plane. "Rows 36-41," she announced, again thanking the crowd for its patience, as though there were some other choice. After 4-5 minutes to allow the first group of plebs a headstart down the jetbridge, she came back to her podium, protected from the sweaty, grumbling, growingly hostile mass of (by now) semi-humanity in front of her. She spoke, "Now boarding all rows and all passengers on this flight."

The crowd sat stunned, as did The Common Man. He looked at The Uncommon Wife for confirmation. Had she abandoned the plan after 3 minutes? And what was to happen next? "Hold on!" yelled The Common Man, as 300 weary and desperate travelers rushed forward. Swept up in the momentum, The Common Man and The Uncommon Wife held tight to The Boy's stroller and were lifted to the top of this throng, riding it like a boogie-board on top of the wave, praying that it would deliver them safely down the jetbridge, and not send them spiralling off toward the rocks (glass windows) on either side of the door. And so it did.

And 3 hours later, The Common Man and his family made it safely to the American desert, where it was warm and sunny and gate agents are never useless teases whose only desire is to dash whatever slim hopes of happy travels that people have onto sharp rocks of despair. And so, The Common Man is in a much better mood today, eating his grandmother's chocolate chip cookies (mmm...the perfect food), drinking beer, and typing unmolested while The Boy's grandparents take him to Cosco. The next few days should be good and The Common Man looks foward to sharing them with you. In the meantime, just to irk Bikemonkey, here are The Muppets singing "Silent Night" with John Denver:

1 comment:

BikeMonkey said...

Don't make me bring the heat, muppethugger!