4.07.2007

venting

I wasn't going to post about this. I thought venting to Allan on the way home from the airport would suffice. But how can I not share it with you? It will make me feel that much better, and I know you'll know just what I mean.

I had a bad flight from New York to Buffalo. There was a bit of turbulence at the end, and a shaky landing, but that wasn't my problem. The problem was the rest of the passengers. As we boarded, everyone - everyone that I could see, and it seemed like the entire plane - was yammering away on cell phones. Loudly. People couldn't find their seats, or get out of each other's way, or be bothered to lift their luggage, because they were too busy talking.

When the flight attendant announced it was time to switch off electronic devices, everyone continued talking.

He announced it again, this time with feeling. No change. I saw people end their calls, then look around, see other people still talking, and make another call. People were talking in full voice, and they were all saying the same thing. "I'm on the plane, we're waiting to take off..."

There was a third announcement - this one shouted. Almost no effect.

On the fourth announcement, the flight attendant yelled, "TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONES NOW!!! I will not ask you again! If you do not turn off your phone, we cannot depart!! You are holding up this flight. NOW TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONES!!!"

I was waiting for someone to come around, snatch the phones and toss them into a garbage bag. I was hoping.

The plane finally took off. Now people seemed to be having a contest to see who could eat potato chips the loudest, and who could suck their teeth the most times in succession. It was very noisy. I put on my personal bubble (you know the kind), and I read, and breathed deeply.

The moment the wheels touched the runway, out came the phones! No one even waited for the "safe to use your cell phones" announcement. "I'm in the plane, we just landed..."

By the time we were taxiing to the terminal, it was a cacophony. This wasn't one call to an airport pick-up. Believe me, I own a cell phone and I know how convenient they are when you're meeting someone. But no. This was call after call after call, seemingly telling every number in their phone book, Eureka, we have arrived in Buffalo.

On my way off the plane, I was behind the young woman who had been sitting in front of me. She had entered the plane talking, blocked several people from finding their seats as she continued talking, and as far as I could tell, had been the last one to hang up after the final shouted announcement.

As she stepped off the plane onto the bridge, she suddenly came to a dead stop. Naturally she was making a phone call. Because she had stopped short, I bumped into her a little bit. I said, fairly loudly and in a pointed tone, "Excuse me," stepped around her, and continued walking. She called after me, in a shocked voice, "Are you talking to me?" I didn't break stride or look back.

I thought that was it.

Then, at the baggage carousel, I heard her voice. She was on the phone - and she was talking about me! "You wouldn't believe it! I was walking out of the plane, and this woman says, 'Get the fuck outta my way!' and she pushes me out of the way! She shoved me against a wall! My arm is all bruised! Yeah, yeah, it was some fuckin' dyke, you know, really short hair, and she says, 'Get the hell outta my way!' I know, I could not believe it, I just could not believe it!!"

Then she caught my eye, and she realized "the dyke" had heard her little fictitious tale. Her face turned three shades of purple. She stammered into her phone, lowering her voice, and slunk off to another area to continue talking.

I vented to Allan for quite a few exits on the QEW. It's good to have a partner who gets annoyed by the same stuff. We had a good laugh fantasizing what he might have said to her, or what I felt like doing.

My trip to New York was great - fast, quiet, everything on time, all modes of transportation clicking, even the MTA. That was brilliant, and I guess two for two would be too much to ask.

22 comments:

redsock said...

That flight attendant should have had his co-attendants take positions down the aisle and then after he said the part about hang up or be ejected -- have them start pointing at people and telling them to grab their bags and get out. It was his FOURTH warning for god's sake. It sounds like 8-10 people could have been thrown off.

Oh, man, to see that and then hear their whining and crying and complaining would have been the greatest fucking thing of all time!!!!!!!

I would have been laughing and tryng to start a "leave the plane, leave the plane" chant.

Seriously.

The greatest thing since the Big Bang.

L-girl said...

The greatest thing since the Big Bang.

But alas, that is only a fantasy.

redsock said...

The 2004 ALCS was better, honestly.

Pseudonym said...

Flying really sucks these days between useless security measures, bad weather, and terrible customer services. Now add to that inconsiderate fellow travelers who are determined to make the experience worse.

L-girl said...

It's true. I love to travel so much, so I try to take it all in stride, and not get irritated. But this one just put me over the top.

I can't believe we're still removing our shoes to go through security! Any creative or crazy person can bring the whole system to its knees with one little hoax.

Ferdzy said...

Who was it who said, "I love humanity, it's people I can't stand." ?

That's my motto, for sure. At least at the moment, since I'm having a moment myself where a desert island sounds just about right.

Oh well, this too shall pass... I hope your trip to California is much better.

L-girl said...

Ferdzy, I hope it passes soon. Get that invisible bubble working as fast as you can.

Who was it who said, "I love humanity, it's people I can't stand." ?

I believe it was Linus, from Peanuts. Or, Charles Schulz, through Linus. And he was so right.

I hope your trip to California is much better.

Thank you much. I really did have a good trip, except for the flight home, so I can't complain.

Or at least, not more than I already have. :)

West End Bound said...

Reading you and Tom's US travels horror stories makes me glad I'm in Vancouver - In fact I posted about it here.

Each time I fly it seems more and more people have to yak on their mobile phones just to hear themselves talk. You're right, it's typically not related to being picked up at baggage claim. My flight from Dallas to Vancouver included a guy in the seat behind me talking to someone about how his girlfriend had taken his wallet, stolen his car, drained his bank account and he had her put in jail. Now why would one want that information out to the world at large? Basic pride in one's self seems to be in short supply . . . .

L-girl said...

Reading you and Tom's US travels horror stories makes me glad I'm in Vancouver

I'm flying out of Toronto tomorrow. I wonder if it will be appreciably different. Canadians like to yak on their phones for no reason, too - although that woman with the "dyke" comment was definitely American. :)

Anonymous said...

I'd be very interested to know if you were subjected to "additional security screening" at any point on your trip? Y'know, American expatriate to "Soviet Canuckistan" who posts anti-American hate propaganda on her blog . . .

Anonymous said...

That flight attendant should have had his co-attendants take positions down the aisle and then after he said the part about hang up or be ejected -- have them start pointing at people and telling them to grab their bags and get out.

That's exactly what should have happened. Remember about a month ago when that little brat was throwing a 15 minute tantrum on a flight. The little shit and her white-trash parents were summarily booted, but the airline capitulated and gave them a large stack of free travel vouchers. $100 says the pilot was reprimanded for making a command decision regarding the safety of the flight.

L-girl said...

I'd be very interested to know if you were subjected to "additional security screening" at any point on your trip? Y'know, American expatriate to "Soviet Canuckistan" who posts anti-American hate propaganda on her blog . . .

Nah, wtmc and I are not that famous. There are lots of Americans living in Canada. The assumption is you're here on business, as most people are. I go back and forth all the time with no problem. (Xref discussion on why I might want to keep my US passport.)

redsock said...

Nah, wtmc and I are not that famous.

Speak for yourself.

I'm in Sports Illustrated, yo. And I write Canada's "Best Sports Blog".

teflonjedi said...

Hmm,

I seem to have more trouble with this kind of thing on the shorter flights, than on the long haul flights. And, I have very little trouble in China, despite the fact that China is a cell phone nation, and if the phone rings they answer...meetings with the big boss or no. I think there is something cultural at work.

L-girl said...

Nah, wtmc and I are not that famous.

Speak for yourself.


Now who else would I be speaking for? Few bloggers can be as famous as you. ;-)

L-girl said...

I seem to have more trouble with this kind of thing on the shorter flights, than on the long haul flights.

I see what you mean. My 5-hr flight to L.A. was MUCH quieter and more comfortable than the 50-minute flight from NYC to Buffalo. I'm sure cultural factors come into play too.

Nice to see you here, t'jedi! I hope all is well with you.

James said...

I'd be very interested to know if you were subjected to "additional security screening" at any point on your trip? Y'know, American expatriate to "Soviet Canuckistan" who posts anti-American hate propaganda on her blog...

Laura might not have been, but former Marine Professor Walter F. Murphy, emeritus of Princeton University, has been thanks to his criticizing Bush in a lecture.

I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a very polite clerk for American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked asked a question and offered a frightening comment: "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that." I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. "That'll do it," the man said.

Details at http://balkin.blogspot.com/2007/04/another-enemy-of-people.html

teflonjedi said...

Nice to see you here, t'jedi! I hope all is well with you.

I'm always around, reading, even if I'm not saying much. All is well...just a little busy over here in the Middle Kingdom...

loneprimate said...

Cell phones... they truly are the bane of existence. Well, one of. But this astounds me, that you can still bring something that dodgy on a plane. You can't bring nail clippers on, but you can bring your own personal fuck-up-the-navigation-system magic wand. God forbid we should ban the security blanket of those who live in the desperate fear they are unloved and disregarded if they don't have the rapt attention of some other sentient being at every waking moment. "Mommy, was there really a time when souls had pause?" "Yes, my child, not long ago..."

I have a cell myself; I lived without for a few years, having rarely needed the one I had, then changed my mind after a timid, middle-aged immigrant with a learner's permit rear-ended me and insisted we use her cell to call her husband rather than the police. So now I have one, but I could count on both hands the number of times I've used it (what a waste of money, truly). If they banned these things, I think on the whole I'd breathe a sigh of relief. If nothing else, I wish the provincial government would grow a pair and ban them from hands of drivers in moving cars. If not, I want to be able to drink beer on the road. Fair's fair; this is a democracy and I want access to my imparement of choice.

loneprimate said...

Or impairment. Actually, my spelling of choice. Freadum! Libberdy! Dimokrissy! :)

L-girl said...

I have a cell myself; I lived without for a few years, having rarely needed the one I had,

I also got my cell very late, comparitively. Allan doesn't own one, and in the brief period when he did, I could never get him to turn it on and use it.

I am glad I have a cell, for safety and convenience. When we were looking for a place to live, it would have been nigh impossible without a cell. Similarly, if you're job hunting, you can leave the house without worrying that you'll miss The Important Call. And if you or a friend is running seriously late, it can free up the other person to get something else done and come back later.

However... there's a time and a place. There's modulating your voice. There's being aware of other people around you. There's basic courtesy. Not to mention something as abstract as being where you are for a moment, untethered, alert, responsive to your surroundings.

I agree: when used improperly, which so frequently is the case, they are the bane of modern life.

Crabbi said...

Wow, that woman was awful! I started a rather lengthy response to this last night, detailing how I've handled such boors in the past, but then I realized I'd be revealing just how immature and obnoxious I can be :)

Let's just say that their comeuppance involves mimicry and repetition. Sometimes a lot of repetition.