This, That & Other Stuff – October 2014

Bob Neuman

Air Travel Can Be Traumatic (continued)

Eventually the plane roars down the runway, giving our necks a twist and delivering a couple of G’s directly to our stomachs as we try to keep from being pushed through the back of our seats.

Once safely in the air an attendant arrives with the cart with the snacks. The beverages, for some reason, are still free. With our choice comes a package of 11 peanuts. Our lunch for a three hour flight? And don’t ask for a pillow. When my wife requested one, an annoyed attendant growled, “We do not supply those anymore.”

Once on a flight, I was entertained by a bawling toddler behind me who kept time by kicking my seat during the entire flight. I can now honestly say I was kicked out of Arizona all the way into Indiana. At least there was no charge for that!

Invariably, somewhere on every flight there is a screaming infant whose modern mother, not wanting to harm his self esteem, pretends he might be somewhere in Boston instead of right in the middle of an airplane. Expect the flight attendant to do something? She is as intimidated as the mother.

I have learned to stay out of the first class section, even if it does contain the only decent restroom. To venture there is to incur ugly looks from those flyers fortunate to have avoided the cattle car directly behind them. The cheap seats john is way in the rear. As for me, it might as well be on Mars. My advice to any traveler is to whistle, hold your breath, squint your eyes, tightly cross your legs or recite Bible verses. Maybe even try a Depends. But, no matter how dire, do not visit that stainless steel mini torture chamber. If all else fails and you truly must, the trip down the narrow aisle with the plane bouncing around will resemble a drunk attempting a samba.

So, why do we fly? Mainly because three air hours despite all the hazards beats expensive gasoline, high priced bed bug motels and bad food. I’ve heard flying is safer than driving on our interstates; obviously, not said by an Arizona driver.

Remember when we were told if we would just hop out of our automobiles and pump our own gas, the price would decrease? Something must have gone wrong with that plan. Before we bought that lie, an employee filled the tank, checked the tires and oil, washed the windshield and collected $.25 for each gallon. Most important, he, not us, was the guy who froze or got rained on. Flying, too, has subtracted the amenities and raised the prices.

Flipping a coin may be the best way to decide if flying or driving is the best choice for that visit to Uncle Henry’s. Perhaps we senior citizens were just born 30 years too late. Do we bask too frequently in the sunshine of the good old days? Perhaps all these irritations are just progress and we are simply getting old. You think?