Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Good, Bad and the really (and I mean REALLY) Smelly!

Hello you gentle soul(s) who are reading this and allowing us share our adventures with you through this blog.  Welcome.

So, at this point you know that the four of us are at different places: Jeff and Keith are already in London living it up; Jon is still in LA, working, packing and getting ready for his departure tomorrow; and I am currently en route to Stockholm at Newark Liberty International, the most beautiful airport in the world.  Feel free to take a whiff of the smell the sarcasm.

Speaking of...Why, oh why, do bad smells always have to be a factor in our travels?  I mean, I was ever so thankful (after reading about Jeff's seat companion to Philly yesterday), that the guy next to me actually smelled decent when I took my seat.  Well, it didn't last long.  I don't know what Stinky McStinkerson had eaten (or more likely, not eaten) before he boarded, but soon after take-off a foul stank began invading my nasal passages.  At first I thought it was the Clearly Hungover Dude behind me (who apparently couldn't fit into his Economy Plus space and kept kicking me while he snored loudly...I know: pure talent).

Soon the source of the foul odors revealed itself to be the neighbor right next to me and now I kinda understood what the whole NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) thing is all about.  Here's a thought: how about you not bring that mouth near my nose every time you nod off between trying to eat and drink everything on the plane?  After his guzzling of the snack box and breakfast sandwich and however many drinks the flight attendants could run over to him, Stinky began to odorize in other ways.  At this point, I was debating about whether to turn his mouth into the goal in my mint hockey game or to grab the room deodorizer from the restroom and douse him with it.  My plans were thwarted when we soon began rattling and turbulancing lower and lower.  After about 20 minutes of circling our way on the scenic landing route (check out the picture of Manhattan below), we somehow we were on the ground.  [For the record, Stinky definitely fills the Smelly category of this post.]
[This picture goes into the Good list, not because of its quality, but because the sight of the City always makes me smile]

Now, for the Bad List (aka, Today's Shitheads):

People in general at airports are serious idiots:  Seriously, is there something they pump into the air as you enter an airport that turns everyone but a few into the world's most annoying people.  Here are today's winners:
  • The "brah" at the check-in counter right next to me arguing with the United employee that he was entitled to use priority boarding because he used to be a Platinum Elite "before Continental merged with United."  Three issues sir:  (1) Technically United merged into Continental, but kept it's trade name (yes, I'm an aviation geek); (2)  Just because you qualified for elite status 4 years ago, doesn't mean you can try to avoid the regular lines TODAY; and therefore (3) you are a shithead (hereby, declared S**thead #1)!
  • I was TSA PreChecked (so no removing shoes, belts, computers from your bag...whoohoo!), so I went to that line, only to witness the hissy fit tantrum of a VERY combed-over man with First Class loafers.  His reason:  because he beeped going through the metal detector and the TSA people asked him to remove his jacket (the metal buttons might have been triggering the alarm).  Between his version of the vapors (aka muttering "well, this is the first time this has happened," a phrase that was repeated by the next offender below), literally ordering TSA personnel to "give [him] a basket," and not wanting to reach to grab one himself.  I was secretly hoping that this guy would be pulled for a special screening, so that he could complain to his family about what a rough day he had.  Yes, taking your jacket off is so hard, and as such: are S**thead #2.
  • I got to the gate after boarding had started, and lined up behind a clearly self-entitled "Businessman" (you know the type...they all wear the same pant/jacket and loafer combo uniform when traveling) lugging 3 bags behind him.  When the gate agent reminded him that he could only take two items on the plane, the familiar mutterings of "this is the first time this is happening to me" and "but I have Status" (that's airline traveler speak for "Do you now who I am?") began.  The exasperated agent explained that the plane was so full (true fact, I actually thought we may not take off as we were speeding along the runway), and that she would be happy to check one of his bags for free.  The immediate demand to speak to her manager came with a raised voice.  I gave the agent an understanding smile, as she pulled the guy aside and let me through.  I found out later that he did indeed have to check his bag...take that sucka!  Oh, and also congratulations, you are now officially S**thead #3.
I'm going to end with the Good, since I'm beginning to feel like Oprah, giving out calling you on your BS titles, instead of cars [You are a shithead, you are a shithead, and you ARE a shithead].  My LYFT driver was amazing this morning.  Not only did he get me to LAX fast and safe (and for like a third of the price I would have paid for a cab), we had the most incredible conversation about the importance of diversity and the effects of racism in the world...all this at 4:30 in the morning.  If you ever come across Kirkpatrick on Lyft in LA, you'll probably end up giving him a huge tip.  The man has a rare knack for conversation and one of the friendliest demeanors I have ever encountered.  Starting the day with his positive energy completely changed my perspective when observing the above-mentioned S**theads.

OK, now to the next Good:  Free booze in the United Club.  I'm going for a wine now, because they're going to charge me on the plane to Stockholm.  Oh and I need to start on my No Jetlag pills my friend Sarah highly recommended.  I wonder if Jeff and Keith took theirs and if they're already partying it up, or if they've completely perished at Terminal 5 of Heathrow.  Wheels up!

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