My wife and I are travelling again, this time to a state up in the north mid-west part of the country. I’ve already been hassled by my co-workers for logging into my work e-mail just to stay up on things. I know that might mayke me sound like a dedicated employee, but the reality is, I simply hate not knowing what is going on at work, and I hate even more coming back from vacation to find five hundred e-mails that need my attention. So I spend probably an hour a day of vacation time checking in on things and responding to those flks who e-mail me, even though they seem my out of office notification.
My first day of travel started off with me coming to the conclusion that I have become a cranky old man. No, I don’t feel old, but cranky is true.
We purchased our plane tickets six months ago through Expedia. We felt like buying well in advance and travelling on the cheapest day of the week, Wednesday, would get us a good deal. It did. But when I logged in to check-in exactly 24 hours in advance of the flight, I got a note that we did not have seats assigned so I needed to get seats. I do that deal where they show you the seats available and this was weird; there were no seats that didn’t cost extra. My only option unless I wanted to pay the $38 each for seats, any seats, was to wait until I got to the airport. I don’t care about which boarding group I’m in, in fact, we are happy to be the last two to board, so checking in at the airport was fine.
But, when we did that, the only way to get to the part where you pay to take lugguge with you, was to pay for a seat. Why did I buy tickets six months ago if I would have to pay for an actual seat? My wife said she wanted to be together so she just had me pay for the exit row seats and that was that.
Oh, I expected the $50 for us to take lugguge on our trip, so that was a given but then they said for $35 each, we could upgrade our boarding group to the 3rd group. No thanks. Long story short, I’m done with Expedia. The good deal we got will eventually cost us over $100 more, so why not just go directly to the airline and get whatever deal we can and know we have seats?
I know that a thousand comedians and pundits have offered their views on TSA and the joke that it is, but I need to vent here for just a minute. I’ve had that TSA Pre-Check designation for a while but just never took advanage of it becasue that would seem shitty since my wife travelling with me would have to go through the regular line. But magically, when we got our tickets this time, the pre-check designation showed up on my wife’s ticket as well. I have no explanation for it, we certainly didn’t pay for it or sign-up. My only guess is that since we had renewed our passports last year, maybe that had something to do with it. Really, no idea.
So I have always done this thing where I remove my belt, my wallet, my phone, my watch, etc and shove all that stuff in my carry-on bag. Then I slip my shoes off, go through the X-ray penis inspection thing, then get dressed on the other side.
With TSA pre-check, there was no removing of shoes or anything. Just stick your phone and your wallet in the cup and send it through the scanner. They don’t even make you do the body scan, just the metal detector, unless of course you are like me and your necklace goes off and now, I have to have my penis X-rayed.
They didn’t require to remove my laptop from my bag or the iPad. But, my bag did ping on something which caused further scrutiny. Turns out that my belt buckle caused alarm. If I had known I could have just left it on, it would have been fine.
I stood there looking at all the people in the non-TSA-pre-check line going through the usual humiliation of bare feet, yelling agents demanding they wait behind the line before they have thier weiners and boobs looked at. At that momnent, it occurred to me that all the TSA agents in my line were extremely frieindly and in fact, yes sir, no sir and just plain pleasant.
What in the fuck! They have turned TSA into a fucking business where those people willing to pay, or in our case, people who somehow end up in the pre-check program are treated better than the average travelling public. I never really gave it a second thought when I was going through the humiliation of the non-pre-check line, since hell, we all sacrifice a little dignity for security., But fuck that shit. I’m sick and tired of seeing rediculous incompetent people who have no real secuity training selecting the 96 year old woman in a wheelchair for extra special inspection simply because they want it all to appear random. No need to actually look at people and see how they are acting to look for indicators that cause concern and inspect them.
The fact that our government will treat citizens better or worse based upon their willingness to pay is disturbing. Forget the requirement to pay to have access to a politician, I already know we are screwed there. But this is supposed to be security.
Okay, I’m over it. Until the next time I have to fly.
I’m not even going to describe how frustared I got with my wife over an incident in the Chicago airport. It isn;t worth it other than to say, I know I’m getting cranky. But I do have to relay my disappointment with the airport workers at O’Hare. We were sitting there eating and these guys responsible for keeping the garbage cans empty both rolled up on one of the cans that happen to split a walk-way. Each of them had thier own rolling garbage can that they would empty the main cans into. So one guy rolls up on one side, the other on the other side. This means that these two guys have now blocked the throuroghfare through the food court area. They stopped, began to chit chat, then pulled out their phones and showed each other little joke memes and such. For the duration that my wife and I ate our lunch, these two guys chattted it up with no concern for the people trying to navigate around them with lugguge and trays of food. I mean, total disregard for the customers they are serving. I seriously thought about showing my ticket indicating I was a TSA-Pre-check person and see if that would have prompted them to clear the area, but of course, these weren’t TSA people but rather unioniezed janitors probably making $100K a year.
Can someone tell me to just get over it all? Why do I even care about these things? Is this what it is to be the old man who yells at kids, “Get off my grass!”
Alright. Back to my vacation.