Subtitle: And no, it’s not just the postt 9-11 crap.

There was a time, many years ago, where the anticipation leading up to taking a flight somewhere, anywhere, would bring on two or three days worth of giddy excitement. That time would have been about 20 odd years ago.

Since then, I’ve taken enough flights that it’s lost all the adventure. Flying has just become a means to an end, and in many ways, less interesting than taking the Grey Dog. You meet the most interesting people riding the Grey Dog. Taking a plane may be a lot faster, but strangers don’t talk to each other on a plane the way they do on a bus.

I remember taking a 4 hour Grey Dog to a neighbouring city in my early twenties. The guy who sat next to me was a Hell’s Angel, who’s buddies had stolen his bike and taken it to a different city as a joke. So, he’d had to catch the bus to go find it. And bust the skulls of his buddies for their prank. The biker and I played cribbage (yes, cribbage), for most of the trip, and mostly talked about the things any two strangers on a bus might talk about. The weather. The f-in government. Crappy jobs we’d had.

Oh, and about Harley’s and bustin’ skulls. Most of what I know about Harley’s I learned in that conversation.

Now, that’s a life experience. A 4 hour bus ride playing cribbage with a Hell’s Angel is something that’s going into my memoirs. 15 years later, and I can still remember whole chunks of that conversation.

But a plane ride? Blah.

For one thing, post 9-11, taking a flight is a supreme hassle. The normal packing routine takes twice as long now. You double check everything. Is some high school dropout security zealot going to mistake that tube of toothpaste for plastique? Shampoo… Hmmm… Didn’t I read somewhere that bottles of shampoo are right up there with Sarin Gas on the WMD list? At least as far as airport security is concerned?

And my laptop briefcase. I have to go over that with a fine tooth comb. Do you have any idea how many random pieces of tech collect in the laptop case of your average geek? Aparently, neither do I. I was kinda shocked at all the odds and ends I pulled out of there. Sure, my laptop case may have been overdue for a re-organizing, but spending an hour going through every nook and cranny of the thing the day before you catch a flight, trying to look at every item with the eye of an undereducated redneck security zealot moron, this isn’t something that makes you appreciate the convenience of flying.

The security checkpoint, or rather multiple checkpoints, were also a hassle. Sure, all but one of them they just check your boarding pass and ID, to make sure you are, in fact, registered and entitled to go from point A at the airport to point B, but even those piss me off. I just wann catch my goddamn flight. Get the fuck outta my way and quit asking me for ID.

And the main checkpoint, where you have to empty your pockets, is way worse than it used to be, back in the day. I had to triage (quadrage?) my stuff into 4 seperate bins. First bin: pocket lint – keys, wallet, loose change, old movie tickets, smokes, lighter (god forbid you have more than 1 bic on you, if you do, it’s straight to Guantanamo Bay for your sorry ass). Next bin: jacket. For some reason a jacket merits its own special bin. Next bin, laptop briefcase. And a seperate bin for the laptop. Oh! I almost forgot. The pocket lint bin also gets your belt and, (thank god I don’t fit into this category), high heel shoes. Ladies, save yourself the hassle. Wear something flat. Airport security wogs devote an inordinate amount of attention to spikes.

Ok, I’ll give them that. I’ve seen some pissed off chicks dole out some nasty retribution at the end of a 6 inch stilleto heel.

But, overall, again I have to say: fuck off. Get out of my face and let me get on my plane. You know what the odds are of some terrorist taking out a 737 commuter flight to Nanaimo are? Zilch. That’s what the odds are. They can’t even pronounce “Nanaimo.” Now piss of and let me get on my flight, please?

The flight itself is something to be endured, not enjoyed. An hour and a half flight isn’t long enough to even settle into a good book. But you can still have some fun with it. Pull out a copy of AdBusters, with some suitably anarchist dialogue cover art, and position it in a way so that the stews pretty much have to look at it every time they walk by.

The type of people who fly tend to be too snooty to strike up casual conversation, so don’t bother trying. On the off chance that you do manage to strike up a conversation, odds are you’ll regret it.

No, I don’t want your business card. I have no desire to “network” on a plane. I don’t want to discuss the benefits of working for an ISO 9000 certified company. Go away. Let me read my AdBusters in peace. See? AdBusters. Closet Anarchist. Go away.

You know what the odds of striking up a conversation with a pissed off biker on a plane are? About none. That’s a conversation worth having.

Talking to some low rent corporate salesman from Punxatawny doesn’t intrigue me. I’m not saying low rent corporate salesmen are lower forms of humanity than a pissed off biker. Just that they’re a LOT less interesting to talk to.

There was one good thing about the flight. Arriving. Getting off the plane and having my folks, sister, and niece, waiting for me at the terminal was nice.

Every flight should end with some dear friends or relatives waiting for you to pick you up. Smiling, happy to see you people make it all worthwhile.

One Response to “Flying isn’t fun anymore”

    Flights, especially short ones, are why they invented iPods.

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