The Other End of Sunset

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Back to the future.

Another day flying. Such fun.

This time I'm at the Oakland airport, flying east. In the middle of a bunch of people who, apparently, have never flown before.

The plane is late. Bummer. It just pulled up to the gate – we were supposed to leave about 5 minutes ago. So we will be about 30 minutes late. Some tool in line behind me started clapping and cheering as the plane pulled up.

I don’t think he was serious. I think it’s possible he was complaining about how late the plane is. Yup, it’s a crisis. Whatever.

And we had that classic Southwest problem, of people being in the chairs along the “A” line, and people walking to the front of the queue. It’s not that I don’t understand them – I’ve done it too. But the part I think is funny is that the people carefully don’t meet your eyes, so they can pretend they didn’t know they were jumping the queue.

I commented on this fact to my friend. My friend’s perspective was that they didn’t know they were cutting. Heh. Nope, I'm not buying it. Well, at least, I know that I'm doing so, when I do it. While we were having this conversation, the row of people jumping the queue had reached our chairs (about 15 feet from the front of the line)

So I did a natural experiment.

I am a scientist after all.

We were sitting on the chairs facing the window; there was another line of chairs facing us, with about 4 feet in between the rows. A hallway, basically, of chairs. There were a few people standing in line on that hallway (and the rest of us in line in chairs).

My backpack was at my feet. So I slid it out into the middle of the hallway, with my foot. Now, new people jumping the queue would also have to jump the backpack. Almost like jumping the shark, but different in some key ways.

Sure enough, some older lady, with a really bad haircut walked up, looked at the backpack, and stepped over it.

I broke out laughing. My friend scowled at me (not very subtle, I am). The lady-with-70s-fake-Farah-hair looked at me, and then looked away quickly.

Yup, she had NO idea she was cutting in line. Indeed.

So, I went one better. I sat in the middle of the hallway, but with a little space in front of me.

This time, another “lady” not only stepped over my backpack, but also WALKED AROUND ME. Heh. I think it’s Newton’s nth law. Instead of conservation of momentum, it’s some sort of conservation of free space.

I didn’t ask her if she thought the plane would take off earlier now. But I thought it, fairly loudly.

This time, my friend laughed too. Gotta laugh.

Otherwise, the tools will get you down.

Update: The idiot who clapped at the plane is sitting in the row behind me. They just ordered drinks. Listening to them ask for a bunch of different Scotches from the flight attendant was rich. Especially when the guy asked for Grey Goose.

Hmm. Not a scotch. A vodka.

The flight attendant pointed that out. He argued.

I can’t make this stuff up, folks, I'm not that creative.

Ok, this post is WAY too nasty for me. I'm Mr. Nice-nice. Can’t be this mean, it just won’t do. Must get on with being funny, or sad, but not mean. No, no, pip pip, and all that, as my best friend would say.

Well, actually, she doesn’t say that; in fact, according to her, no one actually says that. Other than maybe members of Monty Python. But no REAL people.

I don’t care. She SHOULD say it. It’s funny.

It’s funny how people remind you of places. The folks on this plane remind me of Oklahoma. I don’t know why. It’s not the accent. Believe me, the Oklahoma accent is unique; these folks don’t have it. Lots of nice Midwestern accents here.

Might be folks’ hair, with one too many feathered ‘dos, or the ubiquitous French nails.

Or perhaps it’s the subtle scent of desperation, convinced that the world really is, in fact, out to get you. The fear of the Other. The need to control the world around, because it is so out of any real control.

Yeah, maybe that’s it.

I'm actually pretty happy, all this pompous prose aside. I spent some time with my pal this week (wrote about it in my last post). I laughed a lot, and reconnected with my gun-nut friend.

Maybe the dark secret here, the reason I focus so much on this kind of stuff, the stories to show that I am not like them are because….

… somewhere, deep inside my heart I fear I am just like them.

Just with better clothes, and a nicer haircut.

Seeing oneself in others is truly, deeply horrifying.

Yikes, I so don’t want to stay on this topic, sudden change of direction in 3…2…1… now.

My gun nut friend is loaning me a sword for Halloween. For my costume, not for actual use. Or, well, I can’t imagine what I'd use it for. In fact, he’s going to zip tie it into the scabbard. He says that he’s doing so to make sure nobody else gets hurt.

But then he slipped, and admitted he was worried about me dropping the blade on my foot. Heh. THAT I believe – he is protecting me from myself.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I don’t particularly like candy, but I LOVE haunted houses, and costumes are ultra-cool. I particularly like group costumes. Last year my friends and I went to Halloween as a group – the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange. I thought the costume was great, although we were described as “disturbing” by several people.

My gun-nut friend is married to a really cool lady, who is uber-creative. She’s the art director for our costumes – picks the looks, does the designs, makes sure we have the right stuff, blah blah blah. It always works out well, largely because she’s so good at this part of the whole event.

It would be cheating to tell you what the costume is this year, but her first coordination note was sent out in the appropriate lingo – yup, she got all the content and direction, and then rewrote it into the stylistically correct language.


We are flying through some turbulence at the moment. I don’t really like flying, despite how much I do of it. So when it gets turbulent, I try HARD not to pay attention to what’s happening. Yes, I know that turbulence is not anything to worry about, really. Yes, I know that driving – especially mine – is way less safe than flying.

But it still freaks me out when the plane bounces around like a top in the hands of some maniacal god-child who has eaten too much sugar.

It’s always fun to see people’s response to turbulence. There are the people who close their eyes and appear to be praying. If the turbulence gets bad, my best friend grabs my arm in a death grip – as if somehow holding onto me will keep the plane in the air. And then there are the people who make very loud jokes – whistling, cheering, holding up their hands like they are on a roller coaster. Those are the folks that freak me out – somehow that whole act really scares me.

Guess which kind the row-behind-boys are? Yup, you are spot on, mes amis.

Well, we made it through the turbulence safely.

Umm, I guess that’s obvious. I mean, since this got posted, I must not have crashed. And you’d have heard about a crash in the Midwest somewhere, I suspect. But anyway.

As we were getting off the plane, the guys behind me were commenting on my manliness. Sigh. “Dude, he has a pink phone?” “Who? That… uh… ‘guy’?” Yup, the Midwest is here again…

I think it’d be fun to do a quick media update.

Right now, I'm listening to the Dixie Chicks.

I'm mad as hell,
Can’t bring myself
To do what it is
you think I should
--Dixie Chicks

I just changed to the Dead Kennedys

Kill ‘em all.
Let GOD sort ‘em out.
Rambozo the Clown!
--Dead Kennedys

I'm reading The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins. The cover of the book is shiny silver. So shiny that I can see the reflection of my reading light on the back of the seat in front of me. Dancing along, like my words, as I type this.

We are on final descent now. Thanks for riding with me. It is, I think, an E ticket ride. Hold on.