Saturday, April 23, 2005

Airport Observations

My HR conference is over. I left the hotel in plenty of time to get to the airport the requisite two hours before departure time. Now, with still one hour and 40 minutes until flight time I’m already sitting at my gate.

Murphy’s famous law tells me that if I had only planned to be her 90 minutes before flight time I would have experienced horrible delays and missed my flight. As it is, I have plenty of time to share with all of you whatever thoughts occur to me over the next hour or so.

Lucky you!

This airport (San Diego) plays the same recording over and over again, about every five minutes. It reminds us that, “Security is everybody’s responsibility!” It then goes into great detail about not accepting any packages or luggage from strangers, never allowing your luggage to be out of your sight and control, and reporting any stranger who asks you to carry or transport any baggage not your own.

Well, darn! When that nice-looking turbaned gentleman offered me $100 to carry his bag to Houston on my flight, I thought I’d hit a lucky streak. I mean, a HUNDRED DOLLARS! But when I heard the recording I had to tell him no. I’m supposed to report him to airline personnel or a security officer, but I don’t see any of those right now so I’ll wait. He left right away anyway.

Oh, and I left my carry-on bag on my seat at the gate while I went to the rest room. It almost looks now as if it has more stuff in it than before, and it feels heavier. Ha ha. I’m sure I’m imagining it.

I wonder about things like shoe removal. On a trip to Louisville a few months ago (chronicled on this very blog!) I was directed to remove my shoes and send them through the x-ray machine. Even when I smiled and told the security person that my shoes contained nothing that would set off the metal detector.

But here in San Diego you are allowed to wear your shoes through the metal detector. So I did. And they did NOT set it off. Ha! Guess I showed THEM.

Perhaps shoes are a greater threat in Kentucky than in California. Or maybe they’re just more concerned there about keeping the carpet clean around the security point. I mean, in Louisville everybody goes to the Derby, right? And walking around all those horses, you’re likely to step in some… Well, you might pick up some… Uh, I guess I can see why they’d want to keep those airport carpets clean. They wouldn’t want someone to smell the horse, uh, “droppings,” and think that odor was attributable to their security efforts, right?

Or maybe there was a shoe security alert that week that has since been lifted. OK, enough about shoes.

It’s lunch time. I wonder if they’ll feed us on this flight. In former times that information was printed right on your ticket or boarding pass, as in “Lunch,” or “Snack.” In these days of E-Tickets and boarding passes you print at home, that information is not as readily available. I think I’ll stroll down to one of the fast food outlets at the end of this concourse and grab a bite. That way I KNOW they’ll feed us on the plane. If I skip the food now, there won’t even be peanuts on the beverage cart, let alone a meal.

Mmmm. Back in the gate area again. I had a grilled chicken salad with ranch. Now I’ll get a hot meal on the plane for sure.

OK, we’re boarding. More later.

Time has passed and I’m now sitting in the departure gate area in Houston. It’s amazing what you see in airports. At this exact location a few months ago I saw a LARGE man stroll by me. More accurately, he swaggered by me. He looked like an NFL offensive lineman. He wore blue jeans and a black tee shirt. The printing on the front of the shirt was white. When I say he was large, I mean he looked like a walking billboard. I read the white letters, shook my head in total disbelief, read them again, and almost choked.

In bold type it read, “F**K Milk, Got Pot?” Except each word was spelled out. No asterisks. Yeah, I was shocked. I admit it. Guess I’m a prude.

One last random thought: This is for all you smokers. Do you know how to say “trash” in Pig Latin?

Think about it.

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