I’ve done my share of business traveling and learned to not mind it too much, although I have never been capable of relaxing in an airplane. No, drugs don’t help, at least the ones that I’ve tried (although I’m open to suggestions and samples).
There are tricks and habits that make it easier to negotiate airport traffic and inevitable hours spent hurry-up-and-waiting-waiting-waiting. It helps to have something either worthwhile or relaxing to do — polish up a report, finish the newspaper, troll for sex in a lavatory, etc. I learned to scope out the entire terminal before selecting a bar or seating area, because some truly are better than others. Cardinal rule: Always avoid children, even if their mom is a MILF.
This take took me by total surprise:
I think airports make people unhappy. Everyone is in a hurry. Everyone is frustrated. I think that airports and airlines often forget that they’re in the hospitality industry and really don’t do all that much to make the experience better for people.
He’s spot on in the first three sentences — but personally, I never even once thought of airports and airlines as the hospitality industry. Even before the long lines, scanners, and, if you’re lucky, grope and fondle sessions at security, I found airports about as hospitable as police stations or government waiting rooms. And the beer is more expensive at the airport than the drugs at the police station.
The guy who made the observation above is a platinum-level flyer who always got selected for special questioning. He finally asked an agent “Why me?”
He asked me if I was making last-minute changes to my flights. No, not me. Then he asked me if I was flying international with no luggage. Nope again. He finally asked if I talked a lot. Bingo.
Apparently, I fit the profile of someone who is trying to hide something. I was always joking with the ticket agents and security guys, even the gate agents. So essentially, I was being pulled out of line because I was being nice.
Yes, hospitality at its zenith. Penalize the friendly ones. Encourage surliness. The culture of Philadelphia distilled to its essence, enforced by Homeland Security. “Good morning!” “Yeah, so what. Fork off.”
It’s interesting, too, what can and can’t be profiled. Chatter and smiles bad, turbans and complexion irrelevant. You would love the looks I collect from security agents when I remove my shoes to reveal the toe rings (22 at last count). Their demeanor is rarely hospitable. However, toe rings are not on the profile alert.
I may start traveling again — got some irons in the fire and any one of them might lead to some long-distance commuting — which means it will be wise to update my routines. Lavatory sex is definitely out. Evidently it’s as bad as acting like a human being in the presence of gate agents.