I know that flying is a necessary mode of transportation if you want to see the world. But if you really think about it, it is absurd what we have to go through. In 1977 I worked for an airport restaurant loading alcohol and hot meals for Southwest airlines flights leaving Midland/Odessa International Airport (absurdity #1). Midland/Odessa Texas is not on anyone’s list of travel destinations, unless there is oil involved. Now this is when the attendants wore hot pants (not an absurdity). I thought I was in heaven. Fast forward 40 years and you will never, ever, see this done again, the PC police would be out in full force, protesting with hot pants on their heads (absurdity #2).
But here is the real-time absurdity. To get from Lihue, Kauai to Albuquerque, New Mexico you have to first fly to Lost Angeles, then to Phoenix, then to Houston and then backwards to Albuquerque (absurdity #3). I would never kid you (absurdity #4). So if fossil fuels are the cause of climate Armageddon, wouldn’t you think the regulators (absurdity #5) would look for ways to decrease jet fuel consumption and get people to where they need to be (absurdity #6)? So by the time you get through all these connecting flights you’ve been in the air and in airports for the layovers almost a month (absurdity #7). For the layovers you have to endure the most uncomfortable seating arrangements where some poor slob the month before you took a long nap and drooled all over the faux leather (absurdity #8). Then there’s the comfort pets like pigs and furry little yapper monsters with long pointy teeth, laying and rolling around in that poor guys drool, which is all the convincing you need to decide you are going to lean up against a wall and sleep, only to find drool there too (absurdity #9).
Then there’s the food or the substances they pass off as food. Nine bucks for a ham sandwich. Your first thought is to make sure the comfort pig isn’t missing (absurdity #10). On my way back from Okinawa to see my grand daughter and her parents (that’s what we tell them) the menu shows a Mai Tai, my favorite relaxing drink of all time, so I order one and they don’t have any (absurdity #11). Now, WTH? You make me wait at Narita 5 hours as I watch most Japanese wearing surgical masks avoiding all the drool and you have no comfort beverages!!!! (an absolute absurdity #12)
Then there’s the overhead luggage rules. They give people an example of what will fit and people walk by looking purposely the other way (absurdity #13). So now your standing in the isle, while Billy Bob tries to load his golf clubs in the overhead bin (absurdity #14). This display brilliance and intelligence lasts a week, because he insists it will fit. Now if you fly coach, because of a budget, you get to sit next to Billy Bob in the middle seat. Billy Bob is from Arkansas and is six foot five, three hundred and eighty pounds, and a drooler of biblical proportions (absurdity #15). Now I’m six one, two hundred and twenty five pounds and I’ve given my wife the seat next to the window. The flight from Narita back to Honolulu is 5 years and 5 hours (absurdity #16). When you sit in a position so cramped, your buttocks get stiffer than fast drying concrete. Your legs cramp up and you become a zombie from all the sleep you’ve lost (absurdity #17).
Finally, you arrive at your destination having spent the last decade in transit to experience this thing called – Vacation (absurdity #18). You walk off the plane and immediately people run from the terminal as your buttocks, legs, back, arms and neck are so cramped you have to drag yourself to the luggage section, with eyes blood red, drooping eyelids, Billy Bob’s drool covering your entire body, with at least a pig and a pointy tooth yapper stuck to you (absurdity #19) . It’s a horror movie, but reality.
I think this is one reason we are moving back to the mainland, so that we can fly to one place and rent a car to arrive at least a month earlier than by plane. This is of course you read the map correctly or you find yourself back in Lost Angeles on the highways to hell. Don’t get me started on that mode of transportation.
On further thought, I’m just going to stop traveling, it’s aging me too quickly.
Absurd #20? You bet your sweet hot pant Mai Tai it is. Now that I have shared all my intimate thoughts about travel, let’s hear from you and your worst travel absurdity.