Thursday, November 8, 2007

Reiteration of Rule #1 - Pay Attention This Time People

As you may know last week MDH and I went to Boston for a little family celebration.

We flew.

I mistakenly believed that since I quit my job and no longer have to sit on airplanes up to 8 times per month anymore that the experience of traveling this way would be more pleasant. I mean from here on out when I go somewhere it's primarily going to be for pleasure right? And I'm likely to be traveling with my lovely husband instead of all alone so what could be annoying about that?

Turns out plenty and that I was deluded and living in some fantasy.

Remember that long winded post that I wrote a couple of weeks ago about air travel? Well apparently nobody paid attention to Rule #1.

Here it is AGAIN (edited slightly) in bold and red to refresh your memory:

1. DO please (for the sweet love of BABY JESUS) when it is your turn - step up to the next available computerized check-in machine (uh, the thing that looks like an ATM). Don't stand there at the head of the line like a jackass waiting for one of the uniformed human beings behind the counter to help you. You must help yourself. It is your turn. The time is now. Go to the available machine. Go to it. Go to it now. Yes, you. It's your turn. Right now. Go.

For some reason we booked a flight that left at 5am.

Yes, in the morning.

The ticket counter for Northwest Airlines doesn't open until 4am. So at 15 minutes until 4am there were about 15 people in line in front of us to check in. The check-in machines were on and functioning and a man in a Northwest uniform made an announcement for people to go ahead and use the machines to check in and print boarding passes and then he said that if you are checking bags that the tags would print and the Northwest ticket agents would call your name when they arrived in a few minutes to check ID's and put the stickers on the luggage.

It's difficult to imagine that all of the people in line ahead of us were deaf and apparently not able to read lips, but it's true. It seemed to me that most of the people saw this man and appeared to be looking at him with some degree of interest as he spoke. We were at the back of the line and furthest away and yet somehow we were able to hear and comprehend.

Maybe they just liked his shirt.

Everyone in that line ahead of us just stood there, catatonic. And then they continued to just kept standing there in the same manner of not moving and acting as though they hadn't heard the man make the announcement.

After about 5 minutes of this nonsense MDH looked each other in the eye, nodded silently and made our move. We cut the line.

Yes we did.

We rolled ourselves and our luggage and brushed past 15 or so people and started to check ourselves in. I could feel 15 pairs of stupid, empty, catatonic eyes boring at the back of my head with deep hatred.

Here's the deal. MDH had about 15 or 20 minutes worth of work to do before 8am central time. He could have done it the night before, yes that's true, but he didn't. We both thought that if we got the airport early enough he could do it before we boarded the plane and then he wouldn't have to worry about it and we could enjoy the rest of our weekend. Until we got in line behind a bunch of catatonic sheep. If we had just stood there stamping around waiting for these assholes to bust a move we wouldn't have had enough time for MDH to get his work done.

By the time we were finished checking in and printing our boarding passes the first Northwest ticket agent showed up and put the tags on our luggage. We were still the only people to step up and use one of the machines. I had thought that some of these zombies would follow our example and take some initiative, but no.

I whispered to the ticket counter person, "I don't think anyone here understands it's OK to use the machines." She started yelling at them after that. Something to the effect of "C'mon guys, plenty of machines available, step right up", etc..

And then we went about our business.

IMPORTANT UPDATE 11/08/07 1:39pm
I was just noticing how pretty the picture of the sheep looks against the green background of my blog. Then I noticed after I stared at the picture of the sheep for a really long time how much they kind of look like my parents right after my mom got her trifocals and my dad quit smoking and chewed on toothpicks all day. I should give them a call.


Family Adventure said...

People are useless at airports. I believe you touched on this in your last post about it, but it really bugs me when people make absolutely no preparations before moving to the front of the security line. THEN they start emptying out a gazillion pockets, jewellery, belts, shoes, watches, whatever. Not to mention the 5 oversized bottles of water they are trying to bring with them, despite massive signage everywhere and huge garbage cans filled with just such bottles of water. PREPARE PEOPLE. PLEASE!


Step Right Up said...

The poor guy that gave the instructions probably goes through that every single day.

I hate it when people don't just LISTEN. I'll excuse the elderly in this situation because many of them are uneasy with electronic type stuff but you can't tell me that everyone in that line was elderly.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

I SO don't like flying...merely because of slow people who dont know what they are doing

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Heidi - I can't think of any other situation where we are surrounded by as many other people who all have the same common goal but have such vastly different ways of acheiving it. I personally opt for being prepared and paying attention to what is going on around me and seeking out visual and audible clues about what to do. Anyone who choses another method of behaving in the airport is just in my way.

Step - the elderly issue is a tough one - I try to avoid anyone who remotely resembles my mother when I'm in the airport.

Actually I end up helping people pretty frequently - it's faster that way.

Stepping - 100% of the reason I quit my job was the travel. I was going to lose my mind.

Churlita said...

this post makes me so glad I can't afford to fly anywhere. Staying in Iowa forever is just fine, right?

I bet your parents would be so flattered if you told them about your sheep picture when you spoke to them.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Churlita - stay put in Iowa or take lots of ecstasy before you fly on a commerical airline.

I actually put up the picture in question of my folks because they do really look like those sheep, but I took it down because it was going too far.

Killer said...

I arrive at the airport expecting to hate everyone.

It really takes the expectation level down a notch.

Hot Lemon said...

I get the exact same head-boring looks when I zip past 25 nearly-parked cars waiting to get into the merge lane and zip on up to th' merge point. Fugghimm-- we've got bettah' things 2-do w/our time!!

Betty Boob Hug said...

HHAHAH. Thank you for my first big laugh of the day. I am loving that sheep/parent "I should give them a call"
Too funny!

Well yes, people at airports, unless they are savvy, seasoned travellers are like sitting ducks. Wah? Oh. It's our turn. Oh. Our luggage is tangled. Wait a minute. Yes, that's right. I'm coming. Slowly. No need to rush - the plane isn't leaving without us is it? heh heh heh.

SIGH! GROAN! Yes, you see those types everywhere, holding up the show.

I prefer to avoid airports like the plague. And bus depos. Too many humans.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Killer - I too am a firm believer in expecting the worst - at times it's the only way I have survived.

H.Lemon - Love that. Now that I have a car that can perform such feats, that is.

Betty - you don't even have to be a savvy seasoned traveler to behave properly - just look around, listen and remember that you know how to read. Sometimes though I do enjoying listening to their dumb conversations, like when one person who has been on an airplane twice 15 years ago dispenses the sage traveling advice to his/her companion who has flown never. Adorable.

Tara said...

I love those automated machines at the airport, but part of me still worries that I won't print out the right thing and I'll miss my flight. But I'm getting better. It's good that you guys cut through and tried to set an example of how to be self-sufficient. Maybe next time they'll learn? Nah.

That male sheep looks like he's saying, "Get that camera out of my face."

pistols at dawn said...

You know, some of us are still grieving over the loss of Big Baby Jesus aka Dirt McGirt aka Ol' Dirty Bastard, and are saddened when you take the name of specifically Baby Jesus in vain.

Thanks for the tears.

Superstar said...

As a former uniformed Airline official...I applod you on your dialogue.
1. For the love of sweet baby Jesus....I near peed my pants!!!

2. The introduction of the kiosk machine flumoxed even the most savvy of travelers for a short time. No one listens...4am or not. heheheheh.

3. The younger generations call them "lemmins" now...although, that does explain many a 4am check in's at the ticket counter. heheheheh

On a side note, may I just say, I miss being able to carry on my ONE flight bag. *sigh* Effing terorist. I now have to ship my luggage fed-ex.

Thank you! That was awesome!

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Tara - they'll never learn - I love that sheep picture the more I look at it. They are very expressive for sheep.

Pistols - I'm sorry for your loss but as I have no idea who you are talking about I will continue to take the name of Baby Jesus in vain. My blog, my blaspheme.

Superstar - don't get me started on the seating arrangments. There were times that I was sooo tired with no end of waiting in site for the next flight and all I had to rest my keester upon was hard plastic hell or filthy commercial grade carpeting.

another good thing said...

hahaha-- the sheep!! I thought they were lunch ladies.

I am SO in agreement with the airport idiots- but can we talk about airline employees? Specifically those asses at SPIRIT AIR- also called WESUCK AIRLINES?

so, what kind of car do you have that can zip and zoom?

Catherinette Singleton said...

Good for you for cutting right past them. You should have slapped them all in the mouths as you passed by.

Paul said...

Rudely pushing in front of people is one thing, but surely if you're in a hurry, and everyone else seems to want to queue instead of using the machines, that's a GOOD thing?