2006-08-10

Travelling?

So the next few years should be pretty good ones in terms of how much Xanax is prescribed for people who are going to the airport.
I have the distinct feeling that I should think about driving more often and dealing with the extra time, not because I have an irrational fear of blowing up mid-air but because I have the patience of a tse tse fly and there's NO WAY that I be able to avoid stroking out if things get even more difficult at the airport.

As it is, I can hardly stand flying anymore. I used to love it. It was so easy to roll up to Capital Airport, check-in with the friendly rep at the ticket counter, walk over to the gate, put my bags on the 2 foot screening belt and walk through the metal detector, only setting it off if I was wearing an under-wire bra.

I would get on the plane, satisfied in the knowledge that my bags were tucked in the over-head, nothing was going to be lost because only people who check their baggage lose their baggage, and I could drift off to sleep and drool until it was time to run off the plane and into the waiting arms of my mom or whomever else would be waiting for me with food items and sometimes a coke at the arrival gate. It was pretty much a day I that I could chalk up to Forced Leisure, or Assigned Reading Time. It was SO NICE!

Now?
It's not that Tucson International is a major airport and therefore more vigilant or anything.
It's the fact that I get to the airport and I feel the air in my lungs getting sucked away from me, which is... you know... the WRONG way that the air should be going.

Now, I pretty much have to be prepared for an ultimately humiliating and impersonal experience. I have to be ready to be treated like crap all day long by zealots in security and lazy-ass stoners.

You don't get to check in with a person anymore and it's no secret that automated things PISS ME OFF. I actually hate them. I don't want to check myself in. I don't want to pump my own gas, even, but judging from any filling station on any corner, not pumping my own gas is a distant and romantic notion of the days of 'yore.
Much, sadly, like checking in to get on a plane.
It used to be done by polyester-cad ladies and... well, ladies, if you know what I mean. The latter would usually recognize my internal badge of fag-hag, shining like a beacon in the night to my gay brethren, and they would give me a wink and a great seat.
Now I go to the counter and I am told by Beavis Orange Vest that I HAVE to use self-check-in. "It's really easy! Let me show you how."
Back off! I refuse. I see a person behind the counter and I DEMAND a person. (By the way, this is a true story, as I live and breathe) I want a PERSON!
"You can't. Self-check-in is required by the airline. You just need your credit card."
But I didn't pay.
"Do you have a credit card?"
No. I don't.
"Are you traveling with anyone?"
Well sort of but this would actually be much faster and make more sense if I could just check in with a pers...
"Then the person you're traveling with has to check you in."
That's ludicrous!
"Too bad, sucka."
So I got checked in and the "person" I was traveling with put me in, of course, the center seat when there were totally other options. No fucking way, Amiga. I donít even want to sit with you. It was business travel, what can I say?
When I got to the gate, I got a sweet seat after I explained to the fey attendant the horror that I'd faced at the front counter. The injustice was recognized, either because it was total bullshit, or because I threw in the fact that Beavis Jerkpants was wearing an orange safety vest, which isn't cute, and can't be according to dress code.

So one temper tantrum down and we're not even to security, right?

Then you get to security and it was bad enough when you would lose nail scissors, tweezers, lighters, your Swiss Army Knife and your dignity over having to remove your shoes and your belt and then get felt up by Federal employees. A lot of people got stuff stolen, even. It became not uncommon that your bag would get taken and while you were struggling to get dressed again, stuff would go missing, like cash and jewelry.
Nice.
Yet another shining example of how, when you throw shit together in order to make things look safer or faster or whatever, all you do is move the fuck-ups to someone else. Why these agents couldnít be trained and empowered and given a little buy-in or pride in ownership of their jobs is beyond me but as it was, you would go to the security line and be lucky if you made it through without crying. It didnít help that asshat travelers would get huffy and pissy about how long it took you to get back into your clothing. People would try to cut in front of me because I look young and I donít travel lightly.
Little do they know that doesnít fly with me. Iím already riled up from the check-in and never one to shy away from asserting my rights.
I was here before you.
ďIím sorry?Ē
Yeah. You just tried to cut in front of me. It didnít work.
ďOh!Ē
Youíd be amazed how many white men do this and every single one backs off when you call him on it.
Every
Single
One.
Iíve called white men out on this for doing it to OTHER PEOPLE, even. They often cut in front of the elderly and believe, I am not a fan of the aged. I have some problems that I donít want to take the heat for so letís leave it at me not being a fan of old people. But that doesnít mean white guys with laptops should cut in front of them.

Thereís no contest for getting through security faster than the person in front of you.
Youíre not a more deserving person because you have less stuff to carry and are wearing less metal.
Argh!
I could go on for days about how much I canít stand the sense of entitlement that so many white men have. Itís disgusting and it makes me physically ill and I have no problem stepping to it when I see it in action.

So now, I hear that security is going to take away my water and maybe even my sweet, sweet liquid eyeliner.

As I see it, if I have any chance of making it through traveling at all, I need to drive. Itís not a big time-saver to fly because there are fewer flights. Itís not a big money saver because flying has gotten pretty expensive, especially if you have to travel during the holidays, when none of the deals are applicable.
Itís not worth it.
Itís got to be better to load up the dog and some snacks and hit the open road with your eyeliner and plenty of water. You can stop when you want to eat, and you can eat whatever you want to. Youíre not a prisoner of Starbucksí monopoly of overly-sweet coffee and stale bagels. You can listen to the radio as loud as you want, and you donít have to hear anyone elseís braggadocios and arrogant cell phone conversations or the tinny sound of the iPod music spilling from their ear-buds, or the blank dvd-faces.
You donít have to pack up and migrate all of your non-confiscated luggage to another gate or even terminal when you need to use the restroom or when you break down because you can no longer avoid the hunger pains and the food you brought with you is long gone, since your flight was supposed to have left three and a half hours ago.

I donít think that there should be lax airport security but I do think that there should be a shift in the way people think about traveling.
That shift will never happen, ever. It will never happen when the airline industry and the government continue to push reactionary, poorly executed processes on me and expect me to feel put upon and less-protected. This is not for my own good.

If it was, it would be well-planned and would NOT result in me having to be penalized for not having a credit card, being able to take my make-up with me to my seat, and not having to endure the priggish behavior of generally male business travelers. We ALL hate the screaming baby. Your attitude is now causing me to have to work double-time on my hate Ė one for the baby and one for you.

So if I am planning a trip, or if you want to see me, it would be a good idea to start thinking about drive-time and pit-stops because I donít know if I can do the airport for awhile. I really think I would have a medical emergency, if not for the red-zone stress levels it could induce, then at least for the attention it would garner and maybe result in some actual, personal service.

arizonasarah at 10:44 a.m.

previous | next