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Archive for February 8th, 2008

Taken Off

To call it air-travel is misguided. We’d be better off to call it ‘lower atmospheric-travel’. ‘High atmospheric-travel’ would be reserved for those who could afford it.

The airlines were wise to install ticketing kiosks. Verbal exchanges in the building are now reserved for the TSA. I told my TSA agent (of which no less than three were assigned to my line) that it was “my pleasure” as I handed over my drivers license, which he carefully inspected for signs of tampering. When he did finally look at me, he thought I was serious.

Airports are still filled with the same types of people.

The fashion forward – who’ll be damned to let terrorists interfere with their wardrobe. What can’t fit into the “gift with purchase” bag from Shiseido gets unloaded from the Hummer and checked curbside. Removing the Jimmy Choo’s for screening is a sure sign of her patriotism.

The hat from Gilligan’s Island and the vest from Eddie Bauer signifiy that he’s either going fishing, or heading to Gaza, where all sixteen pockets can be filled with explosives, in which case he’ll continue to be a threat to public transportation.
Once that map from Hertz is unfolded, there’s no going back.

The small spaces of quiet between color-coded announcements of threat levels is actually the Canadian National Anthem. Blackberry keyboards mask the formerly obnoxious monologues over sales figures, deadlines, and flirty messages to girlfriends, wherever they may be. Actual calls are used only for informing their wives of delays.

Onboard, the crew announcements have changed little, though a few phrases have been re-vamped. “….we’re also concerned with our service to you”. Concerned. That’s democratic.

The crew should be concerned with the sodium content in the $6 croissant sandwich, second only to the amount of paint used in Delta’s third paint job in eight years. “Developed” by Todd English, this sandwich was really rather tasty and advances in transporting croissants seem to have come a long way. I have to wonder though, do A-List chefs really get a boner over creating signature entrees for a tourist-class snack menu? The picture only shows him from the waist up.

First Class passengers no longer have the luxury of hiding behind the Burlap Curtain. The FAA prevents it from being pulled closed. First Class passengers don’t seem to read much anymore either. No longer are they engrossed in five-page articles in the Economist or the lastest pictures of Posh Spice in OK Magazine while sipping a smart cocktail. Those folks are now on Net Jets.

The Nouveau First Class watch the “others” as they board the plane, in circus-like amusement. They try to cheapen me with their glossy stares, but I know better. They are, after all, impostors.

All leather seats in blue reside nicely against the hues of man-made materials covering all remaining surfaces. Formaldehyde levels in FEMA trailers are certainly lower. Oddly, the four square feet of flooring in each of the aft lavs is made to look like wood planks. Its now the only indication that indeed, this is a one-holer, as there were no adverse smells whatsoever.

Overall, the crew was as lovely as they could be, despite their age. Almost no one new has been hired in years, and those that have stayed, have aged considerably. Pay cuts have forced the sale of the extra homes in Nevada, or terminating the lease on that little apartment in Prague. A little something from the vending machine before calling it a night at the airport Holiday Inn saves a little money, but does nothing for the complexion.

Arriving an hour late, I’d forgotten that I would likely encounter sunlight. It’s been so long. It hurt my eyes even at this early hour. Exiting the freeway onto Caesar Chavez Street, formerly Army Street, I find the juxtaposition curious. Young Mexican men line up along the street, block after block, looking for work, but only on the side of the street coming off the freeway.

It’s been nine years since I’ve been here. It’s cleaner. Much cleaner and now I’m wondering if both of Carol Doda’s nipples might be blinking up on Broadway. The weekend has only started.

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