Tag Archives: airplane

Flying sucks

I was on an airplane this weekend for the first time in over a year. Flying sucks, but what are you going to do? Instead of letting your insane fears dictate the course of your days, slowly making you too scared even of leaving the house, you’ve got to deal with unpleasant stuff now and then if you want to get to experience other aspects of life which are slightly more pleasant than your regular routine at home.


But yeah, flying really does suck. Getting to the airport several hours early, everybody complains about that. And TSA, I can’t believe that all of those security measures are necessary. The taking off of the belt and shoes, the placing my computer in its own separate plastic bin apart from everything else. As if the giant, full-body X-Ray machine wasn’t serious enough, every once in a while you get some blue-shirted not-quite cop pull you aside for some extra interrogation. You’re going to check me? For what? I don’t have anything worth checking out. You’re wasting everyone’s time giving me, or anybody else here a pat down, all right, I feel stupid, and I hope that you feel stupid running your hands up my legs, because it’s not necessary.

I’m getting carried away. The seats. I get it, airplane travel is expensive, but it’s not nearly as expensive as it would be if the entire industry weren’t super subsidized by the government. So you can’t really say anything, those seats are totally selling themselves. Still, I have a huge issue with companies that, as a matter of business, as a matter of making money, constantly look for ways to take more money out of your pocket, to charge you for services that used to be free.

I’m talking about everything, the two bags that you used to be able to check suddenly subtracted to one, the in flight entertainment that now costs something like two bucks a program. It’s bullshit, all of it. Imagine if a restaurant tried to pull a stunt like that? Extra ice? Certainly. I can offer you five cubes for thirty-five cents, and I only take credit or debit. That place would be out of business in a heartbeat.

I’m talking about the exit rows. At a pretty-tall six-foot-five, I used to have it down to a science: getting to the airport early, talking with an airline agent, them happily giving me the emergency row, and those sweet, precious, three or four extra inches of leg room that come along with the understanding that you’re willing to assist in the unlikely event of an emergency.

But that’s gone too. Some d-bag executive probably got wind of the whole emergency row agreement between tall people and gate agents and said to himself, you know what? That’s definitely an area in which more money could be going to the airline, to the shareholders. Fuck the customers. Exploit, exploit, exploit. And so now you have to pony up for “Delta Plus,” or whatever they want to call the same shitty coach seats that would have at the very least made me feel like a little more of a human being for the duration of the flight.

And you know why it really sucks? Because of course I’m not going to pay for that emergency row. Because I’m only flying once every other year or so. Because I have no money. So what you wind up with is some not-so-tall guy letting out a nice, audible, “Ahhh!” sound as he extends his perfectly regular-sized limbs as far as they’ll stretch, all while I’m a few rows back, the guy in front of me could barely wait to reach cruising altitude before clicking his seat as far back as it’ll go. Click! He’s trying, he pressed the button and the back started to sway. But what’s that? Some sort of resistance, it’s as if there’s something behind him making it impossible to recline all the way. He fusses a little more and kind of turns around. Oh, it’s just some guy. That’s just some guy’s legs I’m crashing into. Better push back harder. And so it’s that two-or-three minute push and pull, to the point where eventually my knees hurt and I give up.

Why do you even give the option to recline? For real, what is anybody getting out of that equation? Come on airlines, this is the area that you need to monetize. You’d like to recline your seat back? Certainly, that’ll be a dollar seventy-five, and I’m sorry, but we don’t accept cash, just debit or credit. Think of the shareholders! They must be satisfied! Give them more money! It would eliminate at least this little morsel of my in-flight suffering.

Yes, I hate flying, blah, blah, blah, this is all recycled nonsense, complaints about plane travel, I’m practically falling asleep at my keyboard writing all of this garbage. Seriously, I should have been born like ten thousand years ago. Talk about complaining. I probably wouldn’t even have the proper linguistic skills to even formulate my thoughts into a coherent whiny diatribe.

But you know what really kills me? It’s that moment while you’re taxiing down the runway, just as the engines kick in for what you know from experience is going to be a jarring takeoff. The plane lifts off the ground and you get that visceral sensation like it’s going to bounce right back down. But it doesn’t. And now everything below is getting really small. And in your mind you can just imagine exactly what it’s going to look and sound and feel like when the engines suddenly die and the plane plummets straight to a certain doom.

It’s probably not going to happen. But it might. It happens every now and then. And what if you’re on one of those unlucky flights? What if the people on previous doomed voyages had those same thoughts that you’re having right now? It’ll be OK, they tell themselves, trying to quiet the ever-present feeling of dread, unsuccessfully doing whatever they can to stay out of their imaginations, and then something does happen. Because it happens, right?

You’re just trying to go on vacation here, you’re sitting in a seat that’s not big enough to hold your entire body and you’re suddenly hit in the face with the cold fact that your life is finite and, even if this plane delivers you safely to wherever it is you’ve decided to give your money to get away from wherever it is that you happen to be making your money, you’re still going down, someway, eventually, nothing’s going to last.

And then you get pulled out of your nightmare daydream for a second because the flight attendant is telling you that, unfortunately, your carry-on is jostling around too much in the overhead compartment, and some of the passengers are complaining, and, well, you have to put it on the floor in front of you, even though there’s no room, you can’t feel the tips or your feet, you try to protest, politely, but you get some non-answer line about “FAA regulation states that …” Yeah, OK, thanks.

Man, I can’t wait until we have self-driving cars. I can’t wait until we have the Hyperloop. Because, yes, it’s unreal that we have an industry devoted to flying us to wherever we can afford to go on the planet. But flying on a plane sucks. It just sucks. There’s got to be a better way.

Originally published at Thought Catalog.

When you’re right, you’re right

Listen, I know that I can be defiant some times, but even me, I’m big enough to say it, when you’re right, you’re right. Like the other night, I went out to get ice cream from the Mr. Softy truck, right, you told me that my brother is allergic to peanuts. I was like, no, he’s allergic to tree nuts, or shellfish, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t peanuts. And yeah, it was peanuts. Well, when you’re right, you’re right. Sorry, I apologized already, and yeah, I’m apologizing again.

But did he take a bite? No, he saw the whole cone dipped in peanuts and said, no thanks, I’m allergic to peanuts. You didn’t have to do that big huge, ah-hah! I told you so! Don’t you think that was a little obnoxious? The poor guy, he sees a sweet treat, he can’t have any of it, and to top it all off, he’s got to sit there and watch you celebrating?

I’m not the one with the peanut allergy, so that’s on him, not on me. It would have been one thing had I gotten him like a peanut butter milkshake, something he couldn’t immediately identify as peanut, but even then, he’s a grown man, he’s in the habit of asking, does this have peanuts? I’ve seen him at restaurant, he’s always good about asking.

He’s always good, usually. There was that one time on the airplane, I couldn’t really make sense of why his allergy started acting up mid-flight. Did he accidentally eat some peanuts? Did they bag say something else? Did it look like a bag of tree nuts? It doesn’t matter, it was just a good thing that the plane had an emergency epi-pen. Although, I feel really bad for that other guy.

What are the chances that two different passengers with two life-threatening allergies would accidentally eat from a bag of airline peanuts at the same time? It’s a good thing my brother got that epi-pen first because, and I’m not sure that the other guy died or anything, but it was bad, they were like making the announcement, is there a doctor on the flight, there were like three, and I kept wondering, OK, three doctors, one patient, one flight. Who gets to be head doctor? I would want to be middle doctor, not assuming total responsibility if the guy winds up dying, but not last doctor either, that’s basically a glorified nurse. I think they did that trick where the head doctor stabbed him in the throat and the guy had to breathe out of a pen until they landed.

And it’s funny because, my brother and I, we were playing this game, you know, I had a bag of Skittles, he sat there across the aisle with his mouth open, I’d throw them in. What? No I’m positive they were Skittles. No, why would I play that game with peanut M&Ms? No you’re just trying to get in my head, but … well, actually maybe you are right. Maybe they were peanut M&Ms. Shit. Which means that, well, are peanut allergies that sensitive? Would one peanut M&M really set off that whole throat-closing?

I guess you’re right. You know, I’m a big enough person to admit it. When you’re right, you’re right. You don’t think I have to, like, call up the airline or anything. That other guy didn’t die, right? And besides, that’s why they have epi-pens on the plane. You can’t go down that road, me making a mistake, we still don’t know the whole story with that other guy, why was he eating airline peanuts? Although, I am somewhat relieved about my brother. Because he’s always so good! I was starting to get worried, like maybe he wasn’t being as vigilant, like he’s getting into some bad habits, not asking about peanuts.

Like when I got him that ice cream. Maybe I was subconsciously trying to test him. And look at that! He passed. He’s a good guy, a real head on those shoulders. And you ate half of that cone if my memory serves me correctly. Would it be too much to ask for a thank you? Did you not enjoy that ice cream cone? I’m always saying it, when you’re right, you’re right, right? Could I be right every once in a while? Could it be that when I’m right, I’m right? Can you just say it?